Wed
Jan 12 2011 1:11pm

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen: Deadhouse Gates, Chapters 8 and 9

Deadhouse Gates by Steven EriksonWelcome to the Malazan Re-read of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter 8 and 9 of Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson (DG).

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing, so while the summary of events may be free of spoilers, the commentary and reader comments most definitely will not be. To put it another way: Major Spoilers.

Another fair warning! Grab a cup of tea before you start reading—these posts are not the shortest!

Chapter Eight

SCENE 1

Duiker, still trying to catch up to Coltaine’s army and the refugees, finds that Coltaine has surprisingly attacked a larger army and slaughtered them, leading to exaggerated rumors that would work against the enemy, such as that the Wickans were demons or were helped by a Malazan ascendant. Duiker makes his way to the nearest oasis and finds that the refugees had been and gone, wrecking the oasis before heading out into the steppes (a move Duiker can’t fathom). Wondering how long Coltaine can hold off “the inevitable” Duiker continues to follow.

SCENE 2

Having reached the coast, Felisin, Baudin, and Heboric make a meal of some crabs on the shore where they had hoped to rendezvous with their rescuers. Heboric, now totally black, is in a surprisingly good mood. When Heboric goes to bed, Felisin invites Baudin into her tent. After Baudin appears to fall asleep after sex, she tries to stab him but he was prepared the entire time for the attempt. She blames him for leaving Beneth to die and he tells her he killed him himself. Before leaving, he says he only had sex to see if she was “still what you were.” Felisin thinks he already knew she was but he wanted to show it to her.

SCENE 3

Sorcery lights up the sky off the beach and Heboric stands between it and Felisin, while Baudin crouches next to her. The lightning seems to strike Heboric, making his tattoos flare, then it shatters and vanishes, due Heboric says not to him but the Otataral. A boat appears with sorcery attacking it. Four men leap out and one, a mage according to Heboric, says they need the group’s help.

SCENE 4

Kulp and the others on the Ripath (Gesler, Stormy, etc.) have been running for days under the random attack of an insane mage trapped in a nightmare, driving them to the Otataral Island shore (Kulp thinks it’s an escaped prisoner driven mad by the Otataral). They’d been sailing along the coast for some time when Kulp had felt the Otataral presence “soften,” as if some power were weakening or negating Otataral’s effect. Having landed, he believes it has something to do with Heboric. As he looks at the group of three, Kulp is “alarmed” by something. He also immediately notes that Baudin is something more than just a thug and is also “disturbed” by Felisin for some reason. Looking at Heboric via his warren, Kulp sees a “ghost hand” of power continuing on from his left stump; it looked like it was reaching into a warren and holding something tight. His right stump had a different kind of power—a mix of Otataral red and some unknown green, which was blunting the effect of the Otataral. He sees it as a “battle of warrens”—the ghost hand Fener’s warren, the other hand a mix of Otataral and a warren Kulp has never seen before. Kulp fills them in on what he knows. Heboric tells him he believes Coltaine lives. Felisin tells them (they’re a Fener cult remember) that Heboric is an excommunicated priest and the “bane of his own god.” Kulp and Heboric go away from the others; Kulp asks if the other two can be trusted. Heboric says Baudin can be trusted so long at their interests are shared and that Felisin cannot be. Later, when Gesler asks Kulp how they’ll get off the island with the insane mage still out there, Kulp says Heboric will deal with it.

SCENE 5

Felisin looks at the newcomers with “disdain,” worshipping a god torn down to ground and vulnerable. She asks Baudin about the talon she found in his gear and Heboric, overhearing, tells Baudin “well done,” but refuses to explain to Felisin. Baudin, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to agree with Heboric’s assessment of him. Felisin, angered, dreams of the rebellion succeeding and taking the entire Empire down with it: “an end to repression, an end to the threat of restraint as I set about exacting revenge.” She decides to try and get the newcomers on her side via her usual method. After some great humor, Gesler tells her to take off, that they see through her. Spitefully, she tells them Heboric will betray them and that he despises them. She goes into the water herself, exhausted, and thinks how she can’t do anything but lash out and that there must be some way to “reflect something other than hate and contempt . . . a reason.”

SCENE 6

The next day Kulp says he hopes the Otataral in Heboric will keep the insane mage at bay. He notes his warren, Maenas, feels different, more “eager” and less “remote” than usual. They enter the water and the ship is attacked by sorcery again in the form of “spears,” one of which pierces Stormy’s thigh. Heboric covers Felisin. When the sorcery stops, they are in the mage’s warren and Kulp looks up to see a tiny figure riding the storm high above, blood spraying around it. Heboric uses his Fener ghost hand to heal Stormy’s thigh, though Kulp had seen some taint pass through. Baudin had also been injured (his hand) but refused Heboric’s healing. A strange pale blue thick water is slowly filling the ship’s hold, but they’re only fifty yards or so from a large, seemingly abandoned ship, which Baudin identifies as a “Quon dromon, Pre-Imperial.” They swim over to the Silanda, which Baudin has identified because it had been the only ship allowed to trade with the Tiste Andii and it had gone missing years ago. When they open up one of the on-deck bundles, they find a severed Tiste Andii head inside, which is the case for the dozens of other bundles.

Below decks, Kulp and Gesler find the oars manned by headless bodies. Kulp says someone killed everyone, beheaded them, then set them to work as rowers. In the captain’s cabin they find four more bodies, non-Tiste Andii. Three of them are crushed. The fourth is in the captain’s chair impaled by a spear. His is the only corpse with blood, and it still looks wet. Kulp guesses these four killed the Tiste Andii, sailed into the warren (possibly accidentally), then were killed by someone else. While Gesler goes to get Heboric, Kulp studies the maps in the room and recognizes very little. Heboric thinks they are Tiste Edur, referenced in Gothos’s Folly as one of three Tiste groups from another realm, the Edur from the “unwelcome union of Mother Dark with the Light.” He explains the Tiste Andii considered it a “degradation of pure Dark, and the source of all their subsequent ills.” He also says the spear is a Barghast weapon, though oddly large. Kulp takes the rowers’ whistle from the captain’s neck. Out on deck, Kulp feels the whistle’s sorcery and realizes the cabin had Otataral in it. Up in the crow’s nest, Truth sees a sorcery storm approaching (the insane mage). Gesler blows the whistle and the oarsmen begin. The eyes in the severed heads also open. Felisin looks at Truth and envies his innocence, thinks she walled off all that was vulnerable in herself.

SCENE 7

Fiddler wakes in Pust’s temple with Pust and Mappo there. After Mappo leaves, Pust says he knows Fiddler’s goal is Tremorlor, asks if Fiddler knows “The Chain of Dogs,” which he says has already begun, then utters “shadow-borne prophecies . . . The gutter under the flood. A river of blood, the flow of words from a hidden heart. All things sundered. Spiders in every crook and corner.” Mappo tells Fiddler to pay attention to everything Pust says, then, after admitting he follows Icarium to keep his search endless, says he and Icarium will join them to find Tremorlor. He also tells Fiddler that Pust saved Fiddler’s life and rebuilt his shattered ankle. Crokus bursts in worried that Apsalar will be re-possessed because they are in a temple of Shadow. Prompted by Icarium, Pust reassures them by explaining Cotillion won’t repossess her due to Rake’s threat (from GoTM), Cotillion no longer see her as valuable, and that his residue of skills in her is cause for concern (thought that last was possibly an accidental slip).

Fiddler then gives a mini-lecture on Tremorlor and the Azath houses. Says they are rumored to be on every continent, they are a lodestone to power, that Kellanved and Dancer occupied the Deadhouse in Malaz City. He continues with Quick Ben’s theory that all are linked via gates and one can use them for near-instantaneous travel and says they plan on using Tremorlor to get to Malaz City, a half-day’s sail from Apsalar’s home. Pust says at Tremorlor there will be blades and fangs; Icarium shall find his past, Apsalar what she doesn’t yet know she seeks, Crokus the cost of becoming a man (or not), Fiddler the Emperor’s blessing; and Mappo will do what he must. He then vanishes. When Fiddler asks if there is magic in words, Icarium says enough “to drive gods to their knees.”

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Eight:

Hah, I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired as I work on these chapters this week, but I had to read the extract from Heboric’s writings about seven times before it made any sort of sense to me... I don’t think I could manage a whole book of his work! *grin* Anyway, “Conspiracies in the Imperium” sort of says it all.

I don’t know... I realise that throughout history smaller forces have beaten larger through a combination of tactics, cunning and luck—but beating a force seven times larger simply through catching them unawares seems a little preposterous. The amount of time it would take to kill that many people would take away the advantage of having caught them unawares, surely?

Here we have a clear example of unreliable narration and how stories grow, thanks to the tales that the survivors of the massacre say about the Wickans: they’re demons, breathe fire, cannot be killed etc. Of course, this being a Malazan book any one of those aspects could actually be the truth!

This is very interesting:

...more than the simple lashing-out of a wounded, tormented beast [...] The Fist was conducting a campaign. Engaged in a war, not a panicked flight.

I’m just a tiny bit confused trying to keep everything straight in my head in terms of “sides” for this conflict—let me see if I can set it out. On one side we have the Malazans, which includes the Wickans led by Coltaine. He is also a Fist of the Seventh. On the other side we have Sha’ik and the Whirlwind and Kamist Reloe, and the Tithansi horsemen are part of this motley revolutionary force. All correct? [Bill’s interjection: Yep! And a few more to come....]

It strikes me that Coltaine must be a very strong personality indeed—let’s contemplate his achievements so far: he’s managed to escape from the marauding revolutionaries—and not just the army but refugees as well. He’s massacred part of Kamist Reloe’s force. And, on top of that, he’s keeping those refugees moving at such a clip that so far Duiker—a man on his own on horseback—has not managed to catch up with them. That’s some incredible work! However, Duiker’s final thought is both realistic and ominous:

How long could Coltaine delay the inevitable?

[Bill’s interjection: Plus, don’t forget he held the Empire at bay for awhile and so impressed Kellanved that he basically co-opted him to the Empire’s side rather than fight him.]

How awful must it be to have struggled all the way across the desert, seen the terror of Fener and then find no salvation at the coast when you arrive?

“We’ve reached the shore, where Hood awaits and no-one else.”

I like this gentler and humorous version of Heboric much more than the spiky and yet resigned version we first encountered. His frivolity and softly mocking tone are very different, it seems to me—is this perhaps because his god has acknowledged him again? Or is it because he is resigned to death with Fener’s return and attention? Or has he been possessed? Or is he not that different at all and I’m just reading too much?

Oh, why does Felisin reduce herself to nothing more than a transaction? She had the opportunity to change her ways and wipe her slate clean by leaving the mines, but she keeps pursuing the same path. And she has learnt a crudeness that I think no noblewoman would ever utter:

“Do you prefer men? Boys? Throw me on my stomach and you won’t know the difference.”

It’s so painful that Baudin goes through with the sex to prove to Felisin that she has not changed since the mines—and really rather nasty of him. I originally found Baudin entertaining/interesting enough, but I am developing a hefty dose of dislike for him. Am I on my own here?

When the sorcery begins, Heboric puts himself between Felisin and the threat. This is not the first time he’s done this. Does he love her? Is he merely protective?

Here we have additional evidence—if any more was needed—that using magic is not a walk in the park in the Malazan world:

Its very wildness was all that saved them, as the madness that gripped the sorcerer tore and flayed his warren. There was no control, the warren’s wounds gushed, the winds howled with the mage’s own shrieks.

Interesting that Kulp can see immediately the issues between Heboric, Felisin and Baudin:

Weary as he was, something about the way the three stood in relation to each other jangled alarms in his head. Circumstances had forced them together, and expedience cared little for the bonds of friendship. Yet it was more than that.

It strikes me that Kulp’s head-in-sand attitude is probably not the best approach—but I can totally understand why he has it:

“Worry about it later. Worry about everything later.”

Mmm, more jade statue goodness:

A wholly different power pulsed around his right stump, shot through with veins of green and Otataral red, as if two snakes writhed in mortal combat. The blunting effect arose exclusively from the green bands, radiating outward with what felt like conscious will. That it was strong enough to push back the effects of the Otataral was astonishing.

So.... We can deduce that the power from the jade statue reacts with the magic of Kulp’s warren; it might well be sentient; and, unlike any other magic encountered so far, Otataral doesn’t deaden it.

If, as the commentators to the Malazan re-read have stated, these jade statues are a running theme through the books and still not explained going into the final book, might they be connected with the Crippled God?

“A warren I can’t recognise, a force alien to every sense I possess.”

I think that there might well be foreshadowing here in the fact that Truth has been denied by his own priest, and seems to feel his belief shattering down around him. I can see trouble ahead. Although Heboric and Kulp seem to be talking candidly—Heboric confesses his position and opinions about Baudin and Felisin easily enough—there is definitely some fencing taking place in their conversation, especially in the point where they talk about what Kulp saw when he opened his warren and looked upon Heboric. I like the manner in which they complete each other’s sentences—it does imply an understanding between them. More foreshadowing:

“If Geslar realised...”

“He’d cut me loose.”

“Messily.”

If Geslar realised what?

Why does Heboric say “Well done [...] So far” to Baudin when he realises that he is a Talon? Well done for staying hidden? Well done on completing his mission so far?

*shudders* In this world it is not a good idea to swear to either gods or demon lords—sometimes they seem interchangeable!

“The day you lose your bodyguards, sister Tavore, I will appear. I swear it, by every god and every demon lord that ever existed.”

*grins* So far I am liking Stormy very much! I am also liking the fact that Geslar sees through Felisin and turns her down:

“Play your games elsewhere, lass. No offence, but we’ve done enough rutting to know when an offer’s got hidden chains.”

I worry about the reason that Felisin will find to help her through the hatred and contempt.

I like the little hints here we’re given into warrens through Kulp’s contemplations about his warren Meanas. The Path of Shadow and Illusion is characterised by “cool, detached, amused intelligence.” It is emotionless and clinical. It makes it sound like a living entity, but then Kulp dismisses this, thinking:

“Sorcery could be the ladder to Ascendancy—a means to an end, but there was no point to worshipping the means.”

Spears of water are strangely frightening to think about, they just feel more alien. Here is another instance of Heboric deliberately shielding Felisin from threat as well...

Ugh, what does Heboric pass from himself to Stormy in the process of healing him? “Virulent and tinged with madness” doesn’t sound like anything Stormy would want in him. Is this a matter of Fener, or will it prove to be as a result of the jade statue. I notice we’re not told which “hand” Heboric used to heal Stormy with—deliberate, no doubt, so that we can speculate what power it is that has passed from one to the other.

Do warrens have colours? Is the pale blue water as a result of the warren they entered?

So did Baudin actually know Dassem while he was part of the prison gang? Felisin is bound and determined to try and reveal all his secrets, isn’t she?

“Baudin the thug. Did your prison gangs work in libraries as well?”

How creepy is this silent ship, with the severed heads and the fact it hasn’t moved in years?

“Someone took the ship, beheaded everyone aboard...then put them to work.”

Who took the ship? Who could behead that many Tiste Andii? How is it that the ship is stuck in the warren? [Bill’s interjection: Oh, you’ll get your answers. Just not soon. :) ]

Here we have another colour associated with sorcery:

Sorcery lined everything, sickly yellow and faintly pulsing.

We’ve seen in Kruppe’s dreams different colours as well, and I assumed they reflected different sorts of sorcery.

I feel an absolute onslaught of information here as Kulp and Gesler enter the captain’s cabin and see the four dead people—Tiste Edur, mentioned in Gothos’s Folly, which is a tome we’ve encountered before. Erikson goes to great lengths to point out that the spear looks like Barghast, but is too big. Both Kulp and Heboric observe this, therefore it must be important. I suspect the fact that Otataral deadened the magic in the cabin is also a fact I should remember...

Aha! Finally have confirmation that it was the Fener hand that Heboric used when healing Stormy. Guess now we can start watching him intently to see hints of him changing...

And back to pitying Felisin deeply, firstly for this quote:

If demons rose out of the waters around them right now she would feel no shock, only a wonder that they had taken so long to appear and could you be swift in ending it all, now? Please.

It’s that “please” that wrings my heartstrings. Following on the heels of that quote I found this one:

...no weighty bodies taking turns to push inside, into a place that had started out vulnerable yet was soon walled off from anything real, anything that mattered.

Poor, poor girl.

As a quick aside, and because I recently finished a book where a woman had tried to write male characters and failed abysmally, I just want to say that Erikson appears to KNOW women. His female characters are not cliched and they’re not just there for show. They are flawed and fantastic and very real.

And an abrupt shift across to Fiddler waking up—Pust has a real thing for spiders, doesn’t he? Is he using them as a form of metaphor perhaps? [Bill’s interjection: Oh, there’ll be literal spiders, don’t you worry.] And I find it impossibly amusing that he was sweeping Fiddler’s head as the sapper woke up—is that an indication of Pust’s character, or something more to the broom? The source of all his power?

Oh, thank you Fiddler! Him shaking Pust was one of the most satisfying scenes so far! *grin*

WHAT IS THE CHAIN OF DOGS?!?! You’ve all mentioned it, apparently it’s been started, but I have no clue what this means! Unless it means war? [Bill’s interjection: Wait for it.]

And what does Icarium seek? It’s interesting that Mappo is trying to prevent him finding it rather than assist him in the finding. I’m glad that Mappo and Icarium are going to be joining Fiddler’s gang—lots of VERY cool characters together!

“You owe Iskaral Pust your life.”

“Precisely my point,” Fiddler muttered.

I don’t think that I would want to be obligated to an avatar of Shadow either. I’m curious that Fiddler sees no discernable difference between Shadowthrone and Cotillion—for me, they are distinct and seem to be following different paths. Am I wrong?

Oh! Cotillion himself is worried that he hasn’t managed to take every hint of himself back from Apsalar!

How crucial is this? Icarium himself says:

“I have not heard the name Quick Ben. Who is this man purporting to possess such arcane knowledge of the Azath?”

Who indeed? And... would Icarium know him by another name instead? Does Fiddler know that Quick Ben was once of Shadow? Is this one reason why he wouldn’t expand on who exactly Quick Ben is, for fear that Pust would hear?

Here is one example of us only seeing one character’s thoughts: when Mappo goes silent after Fiddler mentions that Apsalar was once a fishergirl and they’re delivering her back to her father, is he really thinking:

After what she’s been through, she’s going to settle for a life dragging nets?

Or is he wondering about the fishing boat that he and Icarium found?

Iskaral Pust is growing on me. *grin* I find it particularly humorous the way he reveals all his thoughts, even those that should remain secret:

“Are they deceived? Subtle truths, vague hints, a chance choice of words in unmindful echo? They know not. Bask in their awe with all wide-eyed innocence, oh, this is exquisite!”

And which of you can imagine Steven Erikson saying that line as he watches us all flounder over his little hints and subtle truths dripped into each novel?

Apparently in Tremorlor all truths will converge. What a very interesting word to use...

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Eight:

The opening appears to be perhaps an excerpt from the sort of history that got Heboric in trouble, calling into question as it does Laseen’s “victory” that night in Malaz City. I’d say that last line also holds true for much of what we’ll witness in the series.

While the opening scene is all Duiker, really its focus is Coltaine. We see for instance, as we did with the attack on Hissar, that Coltaine will not fold easily, that in fact he is not simply fleeing but is coolly and calculatedly running an actual campaign against Reloe even as he retreats. That said, though, we also get a sense of the immensity of Coltaine’s problems: the refugees, the huge disparity in numbers, the idea that his retreat is already mapped out due to the need for water and so the whole guerrilla tactic of hiding in the wilderness isn’t really an option. By the way, Amanda, I was with you on the slaughter ratio’s plausibility. It seemed too high to me as well at first and pulled me out of the story for a moment, given the weapons and methods of death-dealing. Several flights of arrows on an unprepared camp (or a fierce magic attack in this world) can ratchet up that ratio pretty quickly, but we’re explicitly told it was a charge of horse that did the damage. So yes, it was a problem for me too as described, the dying “a hundred for every one.” And while POV always is a question, large exaggeration doesn’t seem Duiker’s style.

Back with the trio of escapees, as you’ve noted, we can see that Heboric and Felisin seem to be going in opposite directions. Heboric seems to have gained strength and even some humor, while Felisin is longing for death. And before death, revenge. She thirsts for it on Tavore, but she’s just as eager to take it out on Baudin as well, who is far too sharp for Felisin’s amateurish trap. Her hopelessness when he takes the knife and rolls her under him is truly total: not simply the stoic submission (“I can survive it”) but the even worse

“I can even enjoy it. If I try.”

That’s about as absolute submission as one can get. Combined with the lines you’ve already pointed out, she’s pretty near the nadir of her existence I’d say.

I’ll admit I’d forgotten Baudin just tells her he killed Beneth, though the reveal comes as no surprise. Did it to anyone? And I have to say, Baudin going through with the charade is disturbing to me and I didn’t buy the necessity of its cruelty, so I’m with you on that Amanda.

The arrival of Kulp and the others is simply a great close to a section—the escapees near to death and seeing it as pretty guaranteed and then the spectacular sight and sound arrival of the rescuers. I love visualizing it cinematically—the survivors dragging themselves, dry-mouthed, worn, haggard, barely able to raise their heads, then thrum of music as the boat moves in to shore, the survivor’s heads coming up, hope blazing in their eyes while the music rises. Then the “rescuers” ask for help. Classic.

Heboric putting himself between Felisin and the malevolent sorcery is the type of protectiveness we saw at the very beginning of the book, then as well on board the Silanda when he throws his body over her. Note too though that Baudin, as well, stays right next to her on the beach.

It’s a somewhat abrupt shift backwards in time with the change to Kulp’s POV, but I like how we see their plight then back up a bit to get the explanation. Kulp is one of my favorite characters in this book and I like his sensitivity when he lands, noting immediately the tension among the three escapees as well as how Baudin was clearly much more than he appeared (which Stormy sees immediately as well). Never forget—the Malazan soldier is a thinker, probably their greatest advantage.

That war of warrens in Heboric’s body—the Otataral versus some unknown force—will be important later and something to file away, as well as its source being the jade giant. I wouldn’t worry overmuch about it now though.

It’s interesting that lengthy pause of Heboric’s when Kulp asks if Felisin can be trusted. I wonder if he’s really debating it or if he knows the answer but it just pains him to admit it (I lean toward the latter).

I also wonder why he doesn’t tell her about Baudin and what the talon means, but I’m not sure this is the best time to discuss it. Just as interesting is the disagreement between Baudin and Heboric over Heboric’s praise of Baudin.

We see Felisin’s amateurishness again as she tries to seduce the marines and how transparent she is to those around her. It’s a wise move of Erikson’s here to add some comic relief in the form of Stormy and Gesler’s repartee to lighten the heavy, heavy load that is Felisin. The humor doesn’t last though, as we get that dark image of Felisin in the water seeking a way out of what she’s become, a reason to change. I like how he places her in the water as well, so often a symbol of cleansing, of rebirth/new life, but not here.

This chapter has a lot on the warrens in it, more information dribbling out here and there. We learn that Kulp’s warren is Meanas, one of illusion, and that he thinks it part of Shadow. It also has a “feel” of coolness or remoteness to it he thinks, as if calling upon its power was a minor distraction to it. (Though that sense seems to have changed recently.) We then get a sharp distinction between warren magic/sorcery and priestly magic, involving divine intervention. Later, we see how Erikson’s POV shifts keep us on our constant toes, as Henoth tells Kulp his warren is an offspring of Kurald Emurlahn, and Edur warren (and tells him the Edur were before Shadowthrone and Cotillion). We’ll continue to hear more about how warrens work, but these chapters should give us pause with regard to simply trusting what some seemingly knowledgeable narrator tells us (or another character) about them. Just because they use magic doesn’t necessarily mean they understand it, much as few of us could explain our smartphones.

We also get some information on magic from a non-magic-user’s view as Felisin thinks of how it really isn’t all that common for the “regular folks”. Something to think about—that while we see it tossed around a lot from our characters, that these characters aren’t run of the mill populace and so we’re getting a very skewed view of its place in the world. I also greatly appreciated the lines with regard to the effect of simply witnessing it on those unused to it: the negative psychological aspect of it and how it can make one feel utterly vulnerable and can darken one’s view of the wider world. While I can sometimes ignore it for the sake of the story, I often feel that too much fantasy simply blithely ignores the social/psychological aspects of magic in a world/society, making it never seem a fully thought-through concept or making it never seem quite real in that world. (Besides Erikson, C.S. Friedman does a great job with this, I think.) It’s good to get this non-wielder aspect from Felisin, to see that magic isn’t simply a wave of a hand and then time to move on to smores.

Point of view is even more important with regard to the Silanda, as these characters have seemingly stepped into the middle of a separate story—what killed the Edur? Who are the renegade kin sought by the Imass and what did they do to make them renegade? Why is that spear so big? Does the size of the spear really matter? Ahem, we’ll revisit this scene again, but I love these sort of scenes where you feel like you’ve slipped momentarily into a whole other storyline. This is after all how life works; it isn’t the simplistic streamlined one path (or two parallel paths) of most fantasy epics. Stories and people cross and re-cross; sometimes they interact, sometimes they pass each other in the night, like looking out your car window into someone’s living room and seeing a tableux for a few seconds only. It adds a richness to the story, as well as of course a sense of anticipation.

We also get more obvious hints that Baudin is more than a thug as he is surprisingly well-informed about some relatively esoteric things.

The whole headless crew is such a great surreal image. I’m glad Erikson doesn’t make the Silanda a one-shot, but that we get to see it again and again. And really, who doesn’t want to see that in a movie?

A lot of introspection from Felisin in this chapter, and none of it light. Again we get her sense of loss at what she’s become since that day in Unta and what she witnessed, her wish for it all to end “swiftly,” her envy of Truth’s innocence (and what a hard thing to face in a boy named Truth). Her dialogue, filled with spite and pettiness isn’t much of a change, though it comes without the attendant sympathy, at least until we get back inside her head or force ourselves to think past the words.

Luckily, we get to leave some of that heaviness behind when we rejoin Fiddler, thanks mostly to Pust’s “dialogue.” Though as Mappo tells Fiddler, attention must be paid to Pust’s seeming nonsense. In his prophecies, for instance, a close reader will recognize the phrase “river of blood,” which we’ve heard from Felisin with regard to her dreams. And later we get more. A fight with soletaken for instance seems inevitable (“unsheathed blades and unveiled fangs”). Mappo will face a crucial decision of some sort, perhaps dealing with the prediction that Icarium will find his “long past.” Apsalar seeks her father but what will she find that she “does not yet know she seeks?” And what “blessing” will the “weary sapper” receive from Shadowthrone? And while it isn’t quite a prediction, let’s not ignore Pust’s line about Tremorlor and “hollow artifice.”

Just like we got a little mini-seminar on the warrens in chapter 8, here we get one on the Azath houses. While we don’t get a lot of info, it’s interesting to note how clear cut this all is, which had been vague speculation earlier. It’s always good to remember that a lot of things we find maddeningly incomplete or abstract or confusing often get laid out eventually in very straightforward fashion (think for instance of the whole Kellanved is Shadowthrone and Dancer is Cotillion explanation earlier in the book). So patience is rewarded.

I’m glad you’re warming to Pust Amanda, as he’s one of my favorites. Oh, to have Pust and Kruppe and Tehol and Bugg and Shurq and now Manask (from Stonewielder) all in a room at once....

And just to keep a major theme in front of us, Icarium reminds us that even gods are going to be vulnerable in this series. Even they can be “driven to their knees.” Coming from Icarium, I find that line especially chilling.

Chapter Nine

SCENE 1

It is five days after the soletaken attack and Kalam is feeling tracked by someone. He comes across the scenes of an ambush with a trail of Malazan refugees leading away into hostile land. Apt finds the survivors’ trail but Kalam says it isn’t there problem. He runs into a band of bandits (using the rebellion as cover) who tell him the rebellion holds all the cities but Aren (“and Aren has the Jhistal within”) and only one Malaz army is left, burdened by refugees and led by a Wickan named Coltaine. The bandit leader threatens to take Kalam’s horse but pretends it a joke when Kalam doesn’t back down. Instead, he asks Kalam to join them when they attack the survivors from the ambush. Kalam agrees, but says they should join the army to attack Aren and leave the survivors to the desert. The leader says they will go to Aren’s “yawning gates” afterward. Apt, meanwhile, disappeared before the bandits saw the demon.

SCENE 2

The band splits and readies to attack. Kalam kills the bandit leader. Riding into the survivors’ camp, Kalam sees it’s a trap (the bedrolls have nobody in them). The survivors kill three of the bandits and Kalam kills the last. The survivors are Captain Keneb, his wife Selv, their two children, and her sister Minala. Before Keneb passes out from a head wound, Kalam convinces him to trust him (Keneb also recognizes Kalam’s name when he learns it). Kalam decides to attack the last bandit back at their camp for their supplies; the survivors go with him.

SCENE 3

When Kalam arrives at the bandit camp, the lone guard has been joined by another group of seven, who had brought women they had raped and killed. As Kalam looks on, Apt reappears. Kalam kills them all. Minala arrives and tells him there had been two others whom she’d found torn apart.

SCENE 4

Keneb tells Kalam that the nearby rebellion army is commanded by Korbolo Dom, a former Fist of the Empire who married a local and turned traitor, executing half his legion who refused to go along. They took Orbal (Keneb’s city) by riding in as allies. Kalam knows Korbolo, who was Whiskeyjack’s replacement for a time after Raraku. Kalam recalls him as an excellent tactician but too bloodthirsty. Laseen seemed to agree and had him replaced by Dujek. Kalam takes charge as Keneb’s head wound makes him a bit suspect decision-wise. They ride out.

SCENE 5

A wave throws a knee-deep layer of silt on the Silanda. Heboric notes that the warren had been prairie and was recently flooded. Out of the silt form six T’lan Imass, Logros T’lan. Their bonecaster (Hentos Ilm) tells Kulp to stand aside (calling him “Servant of the Chained One”) because they have come for their kin and the Tiste Edur. Kulp tells them there are no T’lan Imass and the Edur are dead. While two Imass check, the bonecaster tells Heboric to call down his mage in the sky because his wound is spreading and must be stopped, and also tells him to tell Fener that the Imass will not allow the god to damage the warrens. Felisin laughs and tells Hentos she’s gotten nothing right so far. Heboric explains. The other Imass tell Hentos the Malazans were telling the truth and she tells them they were looking for “renegade kin.” Hentos tells Heboric she doesn’t recognize the strange power in his ghost hand but that if the insane mage isn’t dealt with, Heboric will lose his sanity to his Otataral power. She says they must kill the mage and seal the wound. When Kulp asks what warren they’re in, she informs him it is the elder warren Kurald Emurlahn. Kulp says he’s heard of Kurald Galain (the Tiste Andii warren) and she tells him Emurlahn is the Edur one, and that Kulp’s warren (Meanas) is the “child” of Emurlahn. Kulp says that doesn’t make sense as Meanas is the warren of Shadow, of Ammanas and Cotillion and her reply is Edur came before Shadowthrone and Cotillion.

Hentos touches Heboric and tells him he is “shorn” from Fener though Fener still makes use of him. Hentos goes into the sky (in dust form) and kills the mad mage and while the storm disappears what is left is a black “lesion” the size of a moon. Hentos says a soul must bridge the wound. One of the Imass, Legana Breed, volunteered as he is clanless. He gives Stormy his sword then goes up into the lesion. The wound closes in on itself. Before they disappear, one of the Imass, in answer to Stormy’s question, tells him that Legana will feel great pain forever, as the wound heals around him and he doesn’t die. Truth tells them that Legana took one of the Edur heads with him. (And he was pretty sure Hentos didn’t see him do it.) Felisin converses with Baudin, who tells her “You ever think that maybe what you are is what’s trapping you inside whatever it is you’re trapped inside?”

Amanda’s Reaction to Chapter Nine:

Oh, how I love the description of the Malazan engineers at the start of Chapter Nine. *grins* Apart from the thick-headed part (which is pretty far from what we’ve seen before), this amply covers Fiddler and his ilk.

Every now and again—and it really is only on the odd occasion—I sigh at the idea of skipping from the storylines I am enjoying to one that I’m not fully invested in just yet. I have this realising that we’re skipping back to Kalam. For some reason I’ve found him cold so far, and very difficult to get to grips with—what with his relationship with Quick Ben and his conflicted loyalties.

I do like the way that Erikson showed us—from Duiker’s POV—the Malazan army doing well, and now shows us the Malazans being decimated. Shows us that conflict is never one-sided and people will die from both sides. I am wondering if this is Coltaine’s bunch of refugees or another train—still haven’t quite got all the geography firmed up in my head!

It must be creepy walking around with a demon tailing you—one who you have no idea will support you or not:

Moreover, he was uncertain whether Apt would assist his efforts—he suspected not.

Heh, I am loving the horses in this book! First we have Fiddler’s mount shaping up to protect him, and now Kalam’s stallion is competing with Apt:

He’d begun to suspect that an issue of pride had arisen between the stallion and the demon - his mount’s bolting from the fight must have stung, and it was as if the horse was determined to recover whatever delusions of dominance he possessed.

What I like particularly is that even without names these are lively characters.

Isn’t it callous that Kalam observes the survivors’ tracks but doesn’t even consider helping them—not their problem, he says to Apt.

Okay, just got a nice prod towards the fact that these Malazans are not those of Coltaine:

“We have heard that but one remains, far to the southeast. Led by a Wickan with a heart of black, bloodless stone.”

Again we see Kalam’s darker side when he says “Not black-hearted enough, then” regarding the fact that Coltaine is protecting the refugees.

People do seem very aware of Kalam’s dangerous nature, don’t they? He’s completely out-numbered, sat on his own in a camp with some VERY unsavoury gentlemen—and they are the ones on edge.

Erikson once again spills some wisdom about war—personally, I love reading these. None are at all preachy, and all feel very poignant and real:

Such creatures were common in the world, and a land locked in war left them to run free, the brutal truths behind every just cause. They were given a name in the Ehrlii tongue: e’ptarh le’gebran, the vultures of violence.

Oh oh oh! Kalam is bad ass! He just slit the bandit’s throat! Ha, nice piece of work Mr Erikson, making me think Bordu would feature—he had a name and everything!

And now he finds himself saddled with a family to ride with—wonder what will happen when and if they meet Apt? I love the reaction of the captain when he realises exactly which Kalam he’s speaking to:

“It seems you’ve a reputation, by Keneb’s reaction.”

“Fame, or notoriety?

“I expect he’ll say more when he comes around.”

I hope not. The less they know about me the better.

Did I mention Kalam’s badassery?

There was little gain in elaborate planning. He had eight men to kill.

So is it Apt that took bites out of the two men guarding the horses? Or is it the “something” that Kalam sensed was following he and Apt? [Bill’s interjection: Think you’re safe going with Apt as the answer.]

Minala and Kalam? Do I sense a little romance? I do sense that when Kalam leaves the little family and has no need of his horse, it will end up going Minala’s way—although that might be my finely honed fantasy cliche spider sense!

Aching joints, old wounds—his years always caught up with him while he slept.

Now that is definitely something I can associate with!

It sounds very much as though this isn’t the life Kalam would have picked for himself, being “indoctrinated” into the Claw and then saying:

“I expect your father has a better life in mind for you, lad. Fighting is for people who fail at everything else.”

Have we heard the term “Jhistal” before? “The bandits spoke of ‘a jhistal inside’ Aren.”

Back to the most depressing storyline in existence. [Bill’s (rather snarky!) interjection: I thought that was Twilight :) ] The first point of interest for me is that this warren was flooded recently.

Eeek! The appearance of the T’lan Imass is downright creepy. Are they calling Kulp “Servant of the Chained One” because he carries the whistle that controls the rowers? And Chained One? I wonder what this is in reference to—hints at the Crippled God? Relating to the Chain of Dogs? Something to do with Rake’s sword and the chains within? Ha, do you think chains might just be a theme of the series?

And with the arrival of the T’lan Imass we suddenly have a deluge of information—but, since Felisin already says “...you haven’t got one thing right yet...” We certainly can’t rely on the information the T’lan Imass provide us. This includes the fact that the two powers on Heboric’s left hand are in balance right now, but that if the Otataral becomes more powerful, Heboric will be lost to madness; the warren they are lost in is Kurald Emurlahn, of the Tiste Edur, and the warren Kulp uses (Meanas Rashan) is the child of Kurald Emurlahn. It also sounds as though the Tiste Edur are the forerunners of Shadow.

I’m so upset at the way Heboric is talked to by Hentos Ilm:

She could see Heboric’s shoulders slowly sag, as if some vital essence had been pulled, pulped and dripping blood, from the chest. He’d clung hard to something , and the Bonecaster had just pronounced it dead.

I think it is probably of great import that Legana Breed is established to be clanless before he performs the sacrifice to bridge the wound in the warren.

“Clanless [...] As good as useless. Existence without meaning.”

The passing of his sword to Stormy is also key—hands up who also thought Stormy was about to have his head lopped off?

So Baudin has met the T’lan Imass before? That quiet scene between Baudin and Felisin is the first time I see any hope of a future for the girl.

 

Bill’s Reaction to Chapter Nine:

We start to see a glimpse that Apt isn’t just some inhuman (or inhumane) creature when Kalam seems to sense that Apt would like to go after the survivors of the bandit attack:

“not our problem . . . We’ve troubles of our own, Apt.”

Even his use of the shortened name, Apt, indicates a burgeoning familiarity and relationship. As for Kalam being callous or not with regard to leaving the survivors, on one level yes, but on another, it’s a somewhat pragmatic one I suppose. This is the person after all who unleashed the Whirlwind so as to put a thorn in Laseen’s side. It’s hard for me to get too upset over his decision.

For all of Kalam’s skills and reputation (which we see in this chapter and will again is well-earned), I can’t help but note this is twice he’s been surprised.

We’ve been set up to dislike Mallick Rel the first few times we met him obviously. But not the more direct implications here:

“Hissar is now in Kamist Reloe’s hands. As are all the cities but Aren, and Aren has the Jhistal within”.

And later, the bandit again about Aren:

“We will walk through Aren’s yawning gates.”

In other words, no need to worry about Aren as the Jhistal will take care of it. It’s a relatively subtle reference to impending treachery and it shows yet again how one needs to pay attention to what even minor characters say in Erikson’s work—throwaway characters and throwaway lines often have a surprising amount that can be mined from them.

Kalam’s musings on warfare continues a running theme, as you point out Amanda (and like you, I rarely if ever find them preachy):

“Words can so easily glide over mayhem and terror and horror . . . “

It’s somewhat akin to Duiker’s thoughts on how the soldier must make inhuman that which he kills. Language is often the servant of war.

And here we see that Kalam’s reputation is indeed well-earned. What I liked about this scene was its step by step movement and little asides such as the enemies’ lack of familiarity with the Malazan crossbows that made the one on eight victory plausible, rather than having him be a whirlwind of motion for a few lines then surrounded by corpses. And to drive the point home further, we get Kalam’s own explanation.

I really like Kalam’s statement on soldiering:

“soldiering means standing firm when that time’s required.”

There’s just something about its dignified simplicity that touches me, especially when I think of all those Malazan soldiers we see in this series.

If you missed the Jhistal—Mallick Rel—treachery hint earlier, here’s a chance to catch up as Kalam is even more explicit here, referring to the Jhistal as a “shaved knuckle.”

“That bastard Korbolo Dom”

Nuff said. (Though of course we’ll say more.)

And here’s more. Note the “execute half his own legion” and “too bloodthirsty” and “They rode in like allies. We didn’t suspect a thing.” Note. File. Rage.

How’s that for a great entrance, the T’lan Imass? Swirling out of the mud and silt (and again, what a great cinematic scene). Funny, but I didn’t find it creepy at all. That said, the (to me) impressively grand entrance and all is humorously undermined by, as Felisin points out, how much wrong they get right away: looking for Edur (dead), renegade kin (gone), calling Kulp “servant of the chained one,” assuming the mage in the sky is with them, assuming Fener is pulling strings. It’s as if Superman came swooping down from the sky like a meteor onto the roof, then tripped and skidded over the edge. [Amanda’s interjection: *chortles*]

As mentioned before, some more fascinating information on the warrens, though at this point it’s anyone’s guess as to whether Hentos knows of what she speaks or just thinks she does.

The soul bridging a wound in the warren is important in its own right for the plot purposes of this book, but it also sets us up for other such events. As is often the case, small scenes get repeated as major ones later.

Ahh, Stormy and Gesler. So many “favorites” in this series and these guys join the list.

Stormy: When, after “a soul must bridge it,” Legana Breed walks up to him with the massive sword and “The scarred veteran did not recoil.” (Kalam’s soldier “standing firm”)

Gesler: Stepping in and offering himself as sacrifice rather than Stormy.

Storrmy again: Qhen Legana hands over his sword, how he “took the weight and held it.” (There’s that standing firm again.)

Stormy: “A beat-up old veteran, knocked down cynical, just another of the Empire’s cast-offs . . . Insufficient, she said. Indeed.” Tell me those words—cast-off, insufficient—don’t hit you like blocks of stone.

Gesler: Ready to take on an Imass when he thinks Stormy is in trouble.

Stormy, his eyes wet.

Ahh, Stormy and Gesler . . .

So whaddya all think about the Tiste Andii head Legana took with him—we going to see that ahead or Legana again?

Lots of set-ups in this section for scenes to come. Obviously the whole what happened on board ship and what’s going on with the Imass. But Stormy’s new sword. The sealing of a wound with a soul. The Tiste Andii of Drift Avalii. Tiste Edur. The new lands on the map. The anger of the Tiste Andii over Mother Dark’s union with the Light. The Chained One. This is a section brim full of throwaway lines that will play major, major roles in books to come, and as usual Erikson does the fieldwork of sowing the seeds so those scenes and places/people/conflicts/etc. don’t appear to come out of nowhere.


Bill Capossere writes short stories and essays, plays ultimate frisbee, teaches as an adjunct English instructor at several local colleges, and writes SF/F reviews for fantasyliterature.com.

Amanda Rutter contributes reviews and a regular World Wide Wednesday post to fantasyliterature.com, as well as reviews for her own site floortoceilingbooks.com (covering more genres than just speculative), Vector Reviews and Hub magazine.

151 comments
Tai Tastigon
1. Taitastigon
*Truth tells them that Legana took one of the Edur heads with him. (And he was pretty sure Hentos didn’t see him do it.)*

Wasn´t that one of the Andii heads ?
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
@Amanda:

The Path of Shadow and Illusion is characterised by “cool, detached, amused intelligence.”

Remember this passage for a later book--I think "Toll the Hounds."
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
@Amanda:

Who took the ship? Who could behead that many Tiste Andii? How is it that the ship is stuck in the warren? [Bill’s interjection: Oh, you’ll get your answers. Just not soon. :) ]

Oh yes indeed. These questions will get answered and revisited. Much coolness ahead on this.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
@Amanda:

Have we heard the term “Jhistal” before? “The bandits spoke of ‘a jhistal inside’ Aren.”

Yes, in Chapter 1 we had:
Mallick Rel looked nothing like the chief adviser to the Seven Cities' commander of the Malazan armies. A Jhistal priest of the Elder god of the seas, Mael
Sydo Zandstra
5. Fiddler
Taitastigon@1

*Truth tells them that Legana took one of the Edur heads with him. (And he was pretty sure Hentos didn’t see him do it.)*

Wasn´t that one of the Andii heads ?

Yes it was. There was a collapsed rower below decks to match it. ;-)
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Kulp shook his head."Someone took the ship, beheaded everyone aboard...then put them to work."
"In that order."


Massive coolness. The whole scene is great. A ghost ship in a flooded warren with an insane mage tailing you, and a beheaded crew.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
@Bill:

So whaddya all think about the Tiste Andii head Legana took with him—we going to see that ahead or Legana again?

When I first read it, I was thinking, "How nice, he took some company along." Then I got to thinking about other possibilities.
Bill Capossere
8. Billcap
whoops--sorry guys--meant Andii of course. Good to have the checkers here!

and yes--that collapsed, actually dead-dead, rower is something to think about
Melissa Goodrum
9. Daydreamer
Arrgh, I'd just typed something about Felisin up then I managed to delete it! :( Oh well, while I try to recreate it, an interesting question occurs: how many people remembered the identity of the 'jhistal' when it was mentioned again here the first time they read? I didn't. I knew I'd heard the word but didn't remember where. I did try to look it up again but couldn't find it. Apparently an on-going theme for me; I can hardly ever find references when I got back to look for them in this series! Anyway, this one made for a serious 'oh hell' moment later on for me.
Dustin George-Miller
10. dustingm
Ahhh, chapter 8. One of my all-time favorites in the series, mostly for the scene with the insane mage and the discovery of the Silanda. It's one of those "WTF?" moments in the series that Erikson then comes back to several books later. When I first got that explanation of this scene, it hit me like a ton of bricks. (And now that we're talking about it, poor Amanda won't have that same visceral reaction that we all did...)

Question about the Silanda. I thought [spoiler - highlight to read] it was determined that the Silanda was an Edur boat. Why then does Baudin refer to it as a "Quon dromon, pre-Imperial"? Is this a so-called "GOTM-ism" (i.e. something Erikson might have just forgotten about)?

General question -- do we ever find out more information about the insane mage? I can't recall...
Dustin George-Miller
11. dustingm
Ack! Tried to spoiler the previous post, but the formatting didn't take... Sorry.
Philip Thomann
12. normalphil
I'm doing my soul no favours for it, but I found the idea of a so-damaged-she's-rabid Felisin drawing up her disgusting yet childishly inept schemes and wiles to turn the newcomers against her old-companions-now-liabilties... and promptly running face first into an established military bromance enjoyably hilarious.
Melissa Goodrum
13. Daydreamer
@ Amanda:
Oh, why does Felisin reduce herself to nothing more than a transaction? She had the opportunity to change her ways and wipe her slate clean by leaving the mines, but she keeps pursuing the same path.


My theory about this is that she can't really have a clean start due to still being with Baudin and Heboric. She knows that they've already judged her (cruelly, IMO). If she tries to change her ways then she knows that they will notice and perhaps conclude that she regrets her previous way of acting, which doesn't seem to be the case. I also doubt that they would stay silent on any major change in her and perhaps she doesn't want to face that. Not sure that I've expressed myself very well but hopefully you'll get what I mean. :)

Also, for Felisin, sex is the only power she has. Recent experience has taught her that is the way for her to get what she wants. In this case, a chance to stab Baudin. Later, I think her attempts to bed one of the soldiers is an attempt to gain some power so that she is less helpless and relaint on Baudin and Heboric who I doubt she trusts since she knows that they don't trust her.

You certainly aren't alone in disliking Baudin, BTW. I find him extremely nasty, in most cases. Possibly because I'm quite sympathetic towards Felisin.

There, I think that was pretty much what I had before I managed to delete it. :p
Maggie K
14. SneakyVerin
I think Ch 8 is my favorite, just for the oh so many 'filing cabinet' things that happen here.
I thought Baudin's scheme a little too cruel as well, kind of disturbing.
Also, bringing together these totally different characters just seemed so cool to me...the fact that the men were of Fener's cult seemed like such an odd coincidence at the time.
The scene aboard the Silanda, especially when the Imaas appear, is truly a series of 'WTH?"
It was great to finally get a few answers to things there!
Tai Tastigon
15. Taitastigon
dm @10

*I thought [spoiler - highlight to read] it was determined that the Silanda was an Edur boat.*

Slight SPOILERATION


Nope, rather a boat taken by Edur, for whatever purpose. Info re the Silanda will be spoonfed all the way up to Reaper´s Gale, where we get the Andii view on this. Re the insane mage - I do not remember him getting named or back to stage. *He* fulfilled his purpose - giving us an extremely *trippy/surreal* sequence within the book.
Tai Tastigon
16. Taitastigon
shal @3

Oh yes indeed. These questions will get answered and revisited. Much coolness ahead on this.

The twisted chronology of the Silanda episode always reminds me of *Pulp Fiction*. Once you get to RG, you have the entire sequence down pat together...the way it has been *edited* all over 6 (!!) volumes is hilarious...especially once you get to know all the players involved (Barghast spear...I´m lolling already...)
Brian York
17. Brian York
With respect to Coltaine's victory over his pursuers, that didn't particularly bother me. Especially in pre-gunpowder warfare (which it seems that battle was), by far the majority of the deaths come from the pursuit once one side breaks, rather than the battle itself. And a surprise attack by an enemy you though was running? I don't have any trouble believing that the opposing force broke and tried to run, and cavalry are *good* at running down fleeing opponents in the pursuit (and at routing troops that are on the edge of panic with charges too, of course).
Brian York
18. Toster
I always enjoy Kalam's scenes, and not just because of his noted badassery. Kalam Mekhar is, I think, one of the great greys of the Malazan series. in one light, you could see him as a monster, responsible for the deaths of millions. a cold, callous, killer, fully prepared to sacrifice everything at the 'altar of eficiency'.


but in some ways, and in certain little things that he says and done, he seems to be a man of integrity and even virtue. his repudiation of fighting in favour of soldiering, and in another, fast-approaching chapter we get a look into his deepest fears and glimpse a bit of his compassion.

as the series advances his character goes through some great development and really won me over.

this is the strength of Eriksons characterization i think. it is subtle and extremely realistic in that it isn't simply laid on thick as soon as we meet someone, but drawn out over a myriad of situations and circumstances that draw different reactions from different people. it's not, "my good friend A, who was always so *character trait 1*, but would never be *character trait 2*", which would be simplistic and boring, but gives us fluid and dynamic characters that are hard to get to know entirely, just like real people.
Chris Hawks
19. SaltManZ
shalter @2: Reaper's Gale, actually. This is my third time through DG, but I never caught the significance of this passage before, as it's my first time back through the series since reading RG (and following books) for the first time:
Meanas was a remote warren, and every fellow practitioner Kulp had met characterized it the same way: cool, detached, amused intelligence. ... Accessing the warren always had the feel of interrupting a power busy with other things. ... Kulp did not trust his warren's uncharacteristic attentiveness. It wanted to join the game. He knew he was falling into the trap of thinking of Meanas as an entity, a faceless god... Warrens were not like that.
Likewise the clues about who killed the Edur are great: a Barghast spear, but "too big", and the "breath of Otataral" in the cabin. Mind you, they're the kind of clues that are meaningless until you get the actual answer, but still...
Iris Creemers
20. SamarDev
Hi all, especially Bill, Amanda, Irene and of course Mr. Erikson himself!

Having read along this reread behind the curtains for about 5-6 months (and the ME forum for some years), I’ve the feeling I’ve got some new friends here. I realized that continuing this oneway traffic for a couple of years (?!) didn’t seem appropriate, so I’m kind of joining in. Kind of, because I don’t know if – apart for the needed courage to post them here – I’ll have nice insights to share, although I’ve read the complete series-up-to-now a couple of times.

Finding the reread this summer was really a pleasure, and looking forward to the new posts each week has already become part of my weekly (daily…) schedule. Started to read GotM again in reread-pace, but of course I couldn’t stop, so I’m halfway BH now… Hmmm, I can imagine worse addictions :-)

Let’s travel together through this amazing world!
Brian York
21. Illuyankas
Legana Breed is the best T'lan Imass, hands down. You'll find out why later.
Sydo Zandstra
22. Fiddler
Regarding Coltaine's huge victory over the pursuing army, I'd like to add some stuff that probably worked in his favour there.

Basically, a combination of 3 elements:

1. Coltaine obviously was working hard to get the Seventh into a shape he thought would work well in combination with the Wickan cavalry. Obviously, that worked out well. We will read more about the seventh being fit enough later on.

2. Kamist Reloe is a mage, and not an Army Leader by training. This makes me think that discipline wasn't maintained on a high level in that army. In an organized Army, subcommanders can negate the inability of the High Commander by keeping focused on discipline.

However, unlike Korbolo Dom's former Malazan troops, Kamist Reloe's Army consisted of a bunch of heated rebels, with no discipline, and no battle tactics ingrained on fighting together.


3. This was the First Striking Back by Coltaine's forces, which was far from expected by Reloe. That one gets the element of surprise to go with it, and possibly with a big bonus if played out well.


And a disciplined combined focused attack could do that against a bunch of rabble, without a real military leader. Especially if the Cavalry attacks are planned out well. Just keep them running from one side to another and hit them from behind or from the flanks.

It wasn't a face to face battle, guys, so it wouldn't have had to take that long with Cavalry sweeping over and over again...


Coltaine wouldn't have been able to do this with Korbolo Dom, that's for sure...


EDIT: With Cavalry going at it as I described above, the fact that the rebels consider the Wickans to be demons is not surprising as well.

And getting 100 kills for each 1 lost is a total score, after all. It doesn't mean that every Malazan/Wickan dying took out 100 opponents first ;-)
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
SaltMan Z@19:Thanks, I was too lazy to look up the exact book :-)
Tricia Irish
24. Tektonica
Hey! They managed to post a link to this weeks thread when they put up the post! Yay!!!

Thanks, Tor!
Brian York
25. Jelko
Just wanted te let you know I am joining this re-read. It is realy amasing what reading MBotF has done to my life. Someone mentioned it an adiction. I am a docmentarymaker and sometimes I get the question what I do to research my movies, which books I read. Stating that I seem to be unable to read anything else than a wonderous fantasyseries I always get big eyes and funny expressions.

For me it all started with ToTH and was completedly blown of my socks by it. The curage and perfect SKILL to write a story like that! I realy loved how it challenged me to use my own fantasy to fill in all the blanks and dots. When I found out it wasn't a stand alone novel a litlle piece of me was even 'disappointed.'

Fantasy isn't my favorit genre, and I find/found series just to time consuming, but I realy wanted to know how this writer, SE, got to the point of writing a masterpiece - way beyond the boundries of the genre - and letting me, the reader, literally feel and live THE MAGIC.

Had I read GoTM first, I would have stopped there. It was with DG I felt like the BIG thing was getting started.

Now it's my second time through and I realy love the whole concept of this site. I wander if I'll ever rerad ToTH because the experience was so mindblowing and unique, NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING at ALL, will ever give the same kick of discovering a new world and a great author!
Karen Martin
26. ksh1elds555
@21- Legana Breed is cooler than Tool? I shall eagerly look forward to finding that out. I just love Tool.
Brian York
27. Osyris
Well Tool is somewhat special... :)
Comparisons do not seem appropriate.

Jelko@25 I assume you are talking about Toll the Hounds? Reading book 8 before any of the others! Did that not leave you more confused than anything else? The fact that the book was able to conjour such emotion, even though you had not read any of the others, is a testament to SE's incredible writing I think :)
Toll the Hounds is also my favourite of the series so far, even after multiple re-reads, so I share your feelings.
David Thomson
28. ZetaStriker
Now I don't think anyone can claim that the Malazan novels are exactly a happy-go-lucky affair, but I have to say that on retrospection I'm consistently surprised by the fact that the darkest chapters of this Malazan saga all reside within the second and third novels of the series. Both Deadhouse Gates and the return to the Bridgeburners proper in Memories of Ice were enough to wrap my stomach in knots due to the sheer enormity of the maddening terror our cast of characters had to face.

Already we've seen a lot of it here in Deadhouse gates. The Whirlwind's rampant rape and slaughter, as well as Felisin's inward flight into a self-loathing delusion powerful enough to reflect upon the world around her, mark the twin pillars of depravity that ravage Seven Cities through this novel, and I think that in many ways the latter becomes an internal representation of the former. If you thought that bloodfly scene was deep before, now compound that with this new layer of symbolism! As Keanu Reeves would say, "Woah".

Now, normally this would be the point where I'd type a few more paragraphs with quotes and stuff to make my Felisin-Seven Cities comparison look smart, but unfortunately I'm at work, so I'll instead settle for a "don't tell my boss" before I duck back into ambiguity.
Robin Lemley
29. Robin55077
@ Amanda
"It’s so painful that Baudin goes through with the sex to prove to Felisin that she has not changed since the mines—and really rather nasty of him. I originally found Baudin entertaining/interesting enough, but I am developing a hefty dose of dislike for him. Am I on my own here?"

A few thoughts to share on this.

First, I must say again that SE has done an excellent job writing these characters to enable readers to fall onto opposite sides of the fence with respect to Felisin and Baudin. In my experience, writers generally write a character as being "right" or "wrong" in a conflict and thus leads the reader to follow that same right/wrong or like/dislike status. Not so with Erikson's characters.

Second, most seem to quickly accept Felisin's POV of Baudin's reason for having sex with her. However, I see it differently. When she first offers him to join her in her tent, he refuses. She insists. He finally accepts. In my opinion, not for sex, not to "show her" that she is a whore, but because he knew that she was going to try to kill him and he was resigned to "get it done" and dealt with. She has already told him numerous times that she would kill him, he knew that she had stolen a "throat-sticker" from his bag. When she suddenly starts playing coy with him and wanting him to join her in her tent for sex, he realizes that that is how she plans to kill him. So he plays along, waiting for her to pull the knife...a part of him probably hoping that he is wrong, but knowing that he is right. And, of course, Felisin does not disappoint.

Third, I obviously truly like Baudin very, very much and really feel for him relative to his dealings with Felisin. And, just as obvious, I really dislike Felisin.

It is still just a bit too early in the book for me to elaborate on WHY I like Baudin so much, but I promise I will elaborate when the time is right.

:-)
Robin Lemley
30. Robin55077
I love the new faces on here. SelmarDev, Illuyankas, Jelko, ZetaStriker, and any I may have missed....WELCOME! So glad you decided to join us here today.
Robin Lemley
31. Robin55077
@ 22. Fiddler

Thanks for the breakdown. I had no problem with the scene or the numbers. For basically the same reasons you listed. However, I would add that in my "visual" of the scene, I saw the Wickens (once again much like Sioux warriors) firing arrows with deadly accuracy from horseback, as well as all the lances, swords, talwars, etc., that they were using. Knowledgeable, skilled warriors on horseback fighting against a seemingly unsurmountable number of "completely unsuspecting" foes....no problem.
:-)
Tricia Irish
32. Tektonica
Robin55077@29:

I finally sat down to write something relevant, only to find you said almost exactly what I wanted to express. I think Baudin gets a very bad rap from Felesin.

When she is inviting him into her tent on the beach she asks him;
"Why not? What other escape is there? Unless you've taken vows--" He flinched almost imperceptibly.

This man is stuck with this little brat, defending her life and she insults him constantly, and he knows full well that she intends to kill him.

I do feel Felesin is totally tragic, made even more evident by the glimmers of introspection we get from her.

"To see if you're still....yes, you still are. Baudin knew that already. He just wanted to show you to yourself, girl."

That kind of self revelation could lead to a change of behavior, but alas, no. Different personalities react differently given a similar situation, and this is who she is....and she's not going to change. Poor Baudin.

Edit: To remove my spoilerish supposition.
Dan K
33. kramerdude
Tektonica@32:

SPOILER!!! Newbies don't necessarily know the Baudin bit especially Amanda who asks above about the "Well Done.so far" comment that Heboric makes to him!
Brian York
34. Mike63
sorry, i can't hold back any longer. Do Bill's interjections annoy anyone else?
Robin Lemley
35. Robin55077
@ 34.

Actually, I for one love them. Usually, they are exactly what I am saying to myself as I read Amanda's posts. Somehow, I don't feel quite as dumb, knowing that Bill thinks the same thing.

:-)
Julian Augustus
37. Alisonwonderland
Amanda:

When the sorcery begins, Heboric puts himself between Felisin and the threat. This is not the first time he’s done this. Does he love her? Is
he merely protective?


My take on Heboric's actions throughout this book with regard to Felisin is that, unlike some of the posters on this board (*cough Robin *cough), Heboric recognizes that Felisin's behaviour is that of a confused, abused, lost little girl who hates herself for all she's been forced to go through and is simply lashing out at anybody close by. He still thinks that underneath all the sassy talk is a lost little girl who can be restored to a semblance of normality given the chance. He wants her to live to get that chance.
Brian York
38. amphibian
Before becoming the adjunct, Tavore assigned Baudin the mission of making sure Felisin got through the passage to the mines safely. They were supposed to be set free once at the mines by a network that Tavore had set up, but that plan went to hell.

I may be ascribing Baudin with a little more than Erikson intended with the following, but here's my take:

Baudin has essentially been obsessed with Felisin's safety for the entire duration of the trip. An enormous chunk of his waking life has been predicated solely upon her and there's a weird mix of their human needs (companionship, wanting sex etc.), Baudin's mission, Felisin's growing hatred for those she can't control and pure spite from both sides.

It may be THE hate f--k of all hate f--k scenes I've ever come across. Such compelling, but strange writing.
Julian Augustus
39. Alisonwonderland
Tek,

please be more mindful of the newbies on the board and the direct reveal of advance information.
Julian Augustus
40. Alisonwonderland
The Silanda thing is one of those that totally confused me my first time through the series. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Erikson returns to this scene in HoC (Book 4) to show us who killed the Edur captain and his crew, and he returns again in Reapers Gale (Book 7) to show us who the Edur captain was.
Brian York
41. alt146
River of blood - very telling that and some awesome foreshadowing. You really can't ignore anything Pust says :P I love you he insults a room full of people, as good as tells them he is manipulating them for his own ends and still gets them all to do exactly what he wants them to.

I was also bugged by the term Jhistal the first time I read the book - I knew I had seen it and that it was important, but I couldn't remember where for ages.

The scene on the Silanda is one of the reasons I love SE's writing, the way it is revisted from different angles in different books (and the repurcussions of each visitation) is done incredibly well - always just enough info each time. I love the oh snap moment when you realise exactly how the warren got flooded.

The Baudin reveal doesn't come for a while yet, could you guys maybe edit what you've said so far so we can discuss it properly when we get to it?

I don't disagree with Baudin's actions as much as a lot of other people seem to. I doubt that anything else would really have struck home as deeply. Baudin would have known exactly how Felesin would react to his threats of raping her in a way she hasn't inured herself to - telling her to take a look at herself with that running through her head was probably one of the few things he thought might shock her 'awake'.

While we haven't been told yet exactly how badass the T'lan swords are, note that at this point Stormy is able to hold one.
Amir Noam
42. Amir
Tektonica @32 and amphibian @38:
I'll join some of the others and ask that you please refrain from posting direct SPOILERS. Some of the readers (including Amanda) are reading the novel at the re-read pace and some of the fun is finding out things as they happen and not beforehand.
Amir Noam
43. Amir
Amanda:

Have we heard the term “Jhistal” before? “The bandits spoke of ‘a jhistal inside’ Aren.”
When I first finished reading the book, the Jhistal thing drove me crazy. I knew that the word had appeared before but just couldn't find where (and no ammount of Googling helped me either).

This one word is mentioned (I think) exactly 4 times in the entire book, yet no other single word has a bigger impact on the plot. I'll say more when we reach the relevant place in the re-read.
Amir Noam
44. Amir
Robin55077@29:
This was exactly the way that I understood the Baudin/Felisin sex scene. It's clearly not Baudin's wish to go through with it but he needs to diffuse her attempt to murder him, and to do so in such a way that would discourage her from trying again (too soon).

It's also telling that the only emotion he actually shows is when Felisin speculates if he's taken a vow of some kind.

I find it interesting that Felisin is so wrongly reading Baudin (keeps thinking of him as a thug/murderer), given how she mocks the T'lan Imass about making wrong assumptions about their party.
Amir Noam
45. Amir
She could see Heboric’s shoulders slowly sag, as if some vital essence had been pulled, pulped and dripping blood, from the chest. He’d clung hard to something , and the Bonecaster had just pronounced it dead.

When I read this I actually mentally flinched in anticipation of the inevitable snide remark that Felisin would surely make to Heboric to cause him more pain. I was quite surprised that Felisin actually stopped herself from commenting.
For all her rage and hate and contempt, she still instinctively felt that it would be wrong to use this as a way to further hurt Heboric. It shows that she still hasn't lost all of her morality (or maybe actually humanity).
Brian York
46. amphibian
Amir 42 -

I apologize for what I wrote.

I was under the impression that a big chunk of the readers had put together the pieces regarding Baudin by now and wrote accordingly.

I'll respect the reading progess a bit more next time.

One of the virtues of these books is how with a few words here and there, Erikson can send you howling back through the entire series and assemble disparate pieces into a greater whole of your own willing accord. And he can do it again and again without it becoming redundant or less meaningful.
Philip Thomann
47. normalphil
@37 Alisonwonderland

Close, I see it as Heboric feeling he owes the prior Felisin while having few illusions about the current Felisin. She's viscious, dangerous, ruined and unreasonable- but something is owed.
Tricia Irish
48. Tektonica
Apologies all. I've edited my post to remove anything too overt. I kind of put this plot line together in pieces myself, but truly, I don't remember when. (I'm blaming the pain killers I'm taking for my knee for my lack of good judgement.) *hangs head*

Amphibian: Register and go gray and you can edit what you wrote. ;-)
Philip Thomann
49. normalphil
"A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing, so while the summary of events may be free of spoilers, the commentary and reader comments most definitely will not be. To put it another way: Major Spoilers."

It's from something like the next two chapters, anyways.
Robin Lemley
50. Robin55077
@ 47. normalphil

I see Heboric's relationship with Felisin exactly the same way. He feels both responsible for and a debt to the early Felisin. And, for Heboric at least, the Felisin now does not change any of that, despite her vile visciousness.
Robin Lemley
51. Robin55077
@ 44. Amir
"I find it interesting that Felisin is so wrongly reading Baudin (keeps thinking of him as a thug/murderer), given how she mocks the T'lan Imass about making wrong assumptions about their party."

I found that interesting as well, that she could be so quick to see that (and pass judgment) on the T'lan Imass, but yet have no clue that she is doing the exact same thing. There are points when she almost realizes that she may be wrong in her thoughts toward her companions, but alas, not quite there.
Maggie K
52. SneakyVerin
@34-This was the way that the re-read was set up. First we see Amanda's 'gleenings' so to speak, which are sometimes kind of nudged in the right direction by Bill thru interjections and his own view point. It is supposed to be fun!

re spoilers:

I am what Robin calls a 'tweener', a couple books ahead of the re-read but I havent read the whole thing yet.
As I keep saying, I don't get offended by spoilers, short of talking about when some major character dies!
I like getting the clues sometimes...lol
David Thomson
53. ZetaStriker
Speaking of spoilers. . . I feel a need to call Bill out on this one. Pointing Amanda and other new readers to skim the older synopsis for the word would have been a great move, but as has been said, pretty much no one notices the Jhistal link on the first read-through. Dropping that particular name really irked me when I read it, and I already knew all about it! I can't imagine what new readers must have thought, having all the tension and power of that plotline stolen away in a passing comment.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
re: Baudin & Felisin:
It is certainly a complex relationship. Baudin is no white knight. But, neither is he an evil ogre. Felisin is a traumatized girl--I feel sympathy for her. But, she is also not a very likeable person.
I don't think that I would be friends with either of them if I were to meet them.
For first time readers--keep watching the choices the characters make. It is their choices (or lack thereof) that will define the character of the characters as the story progresses.
B T
55. amphibian
Registered and went grey, but cannot go back and edit that old post.

Oh well... will do better in the future.
Tai Tastigon
56. Taitastigon
amph @55

Welcome to the Grey Swords...and chill, dude - spoileration will always be a tricky item here in this mix of newbies, tweenies and vets, so excrement tends to happen. If it can´t be edited, we should use the good ole *Move on, everybody, move on ! Nothing to see here ! Move on !*. Some 20-30 posts later, it will become tough to find...
Amir Noam
57. Amir
Taitasigon:
Heh. Grey Swords. I like that :-)

And welcome, amphibian!
hazel hunter
58. Hetan
Silanda,’ Baudin said.
Stormy growled, ‘Togg’s teats, man, there wasn’t no—’
‘Don’t need one to know this ship,’ Baudin said. ‘That cargo lying about down there, that’s from Drift Avalii. Silanda was the only craft sanctioned to trade with the Tiste Andii. She was on her way to the island when the Emperor’s forces overran Quon. She never returned.’

This above was one of those OMG moments later on in the series - that it should have been set up like this so far in advance of the rest of the series and has repercussions even as far as TtH is staggering really. It seems such a small paragraph when you look back at it.

@21 - Illy - I agree, although Legana Breed does make me think of Nefarious Bredd ;)
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
Hetan@58:Yeah, when I got to the later part I thought WOW--he set this up that far in advance! Very cool.
Steven Halter
60. stevenhalter
Kalam's fight:
Here we see Kalam do what Kalam does so well--kill a bunch of people. In this case, he has eight people to kill. He starts with a bow shot to the commander. Through the skull, so now there are seven. His second arrow is a lucky shot, but that man also falls dead--now there are six remaining foes. As he engages the remainder, notice all the things he does right. He does not give them any time to think or coordinate. By breaking their structure, he puts their advantage of numbers against them.
Kalam readies some throwing knives, charges and throws. A man screams, but we don't know if he is dead, so we won't count him yet. Still six, then.
He draws his long-knife and stabs one man under the chin and another in the throat. If we count the stab under the chin as a killing blow and the point stab in the throat as a wound we have five left.
He wounds another and the man staggers back. Not dead yet, but the others are still not grouping well as they look for other attackers. Kalam finishes off the man with the face wound, so now there are four left. One of them instructs two others to begin readying crossbows. Since they don't know how to use them, this is probably a mistake.
Kalam now attacks the new leader and duels briefly. He stabs this one in the chest. Three left now. Bordu's remaining guard almost surprises him, but a quick move from Kalam and the guard is dead. Two left.
The two who are left are still trying to load their crossbows. Kalam charges them. One's bow fires uselessly. Kalam kills the other and then the last.

I think that that's pretty close to the death order. I had found myself confused a couple of times as the numbers didn't seem to quite add up, but if you count carefully, they seem to.
One thing to note is that Kalam does all this on skill and cunning. He doesn't use any magic items.
I also agree with Bill that the choreography is great. In too many fantasy fight scenes, it's just a whirl of blades. Not so here.
Melissa Goodrum
61. Daydreamer
@ 29 Robin55077:
Most seem to quickly accept Felisin's POV of Baudin's reason for having sex with her.


This suddenly made me realise that, unless I'm having a major brain lapse, there's nothing from Baudin's POV in DG. I guess he really is an essentially mysterious character and practically everything we know about him comes through Felisin's perspective. Definitely something for me to think about when I finally get finished reading and then re-read. :D And, yes, SE has certainly done an excellent job writing these two characters (and all the others, of course!). I don't tend to dislike simply written characters, I'm just indifferent to them.
Karen Martin
62. ksh1elds555
The scene where Baudin has sex with Felisin always left me perplexed. I'm thinking, haven't he and Heboric been critical of her being too free with her body up to this point? So this seems a bit hypocritical of him now to be having sex with her. But after reading the explanations given here, especially Robin55077's take, I feel like giving Baudin the benefit of the doubt. I always liked his character for some reason, even though we don't really get his POV.
hazel hunter
63. Hetan
@ 61

I agree completely regarding the characters and have often wondered at those who complain at the way SE writes characters - that there's not enough description - but to me it makes it participatory - you know these characters because you are able to imagine them for yourself from the written words. I don't need to know if Felisin has blonde hair or black hair - she lives and breathes in my own mind. That's always the issue with reading a book and then seeing a movie for me, the characters are never what I think they should be and yes, sometime it works and sometimes it doesn't.
Melissa Goodrum
64. Daydreamer
@ Hetan 61

Ha, that reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend not long ago regarding Stephen R Donaldson, who also isn't big on physical descriptions of characters. We both concluded that, despite this, we had very clear images of all the characters. The good bit was when we started comparing these mental images and realised how completely different they were. And it doesn't matter a bit! For me, physical description has to be about the least important thing an author can tell me about a character, not to mention that it can be distracting to have it brought up over and over again. Actually, in my reading so far (almost finished HoC) I hadn't thought that SE was particularly sparse in his descriptions. I would say he gives a brief initial description then rarely refers to it again. But characterization is much more important to me and I think he is excellent at that. Although I've seen opinions to the contrary so I guess in the end it comes down to personal taste.
Karen Martin
65. ksh1elds555
I was checking out another link on Tor's site for their Reader's Poll of best SFF of the 2000-2010 period. Deadhouse Gates is the top voted SE novel, followed by Memories of Ice. I'm just curious, if the readers here are in agreement with that overall assessment. I haven't read beyond RG yet but so far my "favorite" of these is Bonehunters. I think it just had so much action with my favorite characters that I was blown away by it. Re-reading DG, however, I am frequently stunned and left in awe by how well-written it is. The characters, the imagery, the dialog...so much of the subtleties escaped me the first time I read it. I think this might be the most well-written book I've read so far. Which doesn't necessarily mean it's my "favorite" at the time. I think that can change with your mood, place in your life, interests, and what speaks to your mind or emotions are different each day for each person. Anyway, I think it's good to see some of SE's books getting lots of favorable attention. This series is so deserving of more recognition.
David Thomson
66. ZetaStriker
If I was forced, under the threat of death, to choose my favorite Malazan novel, I'd still have to waffle between Memories of Ice and The Bonehunters. Deadhouse Gates is a great novel, but of the nine books released in Erikson's ten-part Book of the Fallen cycle, it's still a solid 6th place, ahead of only Gardens of the Moon, House of Chains and Midnight Tides. Probably in that order, for that matter.
Brian O'Reilly
67. idlefun
Deadhouse Gates is probably my favourite. I read GoTM when it came out and enjoyed it but wasn't blown away but DG definitely hooked me on the series. The climax of this book left me floored. I read it again before reading HoC so it's about 7-8 years ago and it's amazing how much I have forgotten. I do remember reading about the Silanda and being utterly confused, little of what happened was explained in the book, at the time I thought it was just some random encounter with little meaning. Little did I know about SE's big ball of string writing technique!
ps. the link to chapters 6&7 is broken, it's missing the tor.com part.
zaid
68. osyris
Toll the Hounds is my favourite. From the style to the unique way the story is told, the climax, the setting, the rollercoaster of emotions it brings forth...
The book simply has an "x-factor" that I cannot seem to explain. Not many agree and many dislike TtH, but for me it's the opposite. I really can't wait for the multitude of newbies' perspectives on TtH that we will get once the re-read gets there :)

Just as an aside... I realise that Bill's interjections are meant to goad Amanda onto the right path often in a humorous way, but I'm with ZetaStriker@53 on this one. The jhistal reference is something that I think only the most weary of readers would ever have picked up.
Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter
I enjoy Bill's interjections quite a bit. Remember this is a reread and not just for new people.
bill doesn't supply new information with the Jhistal reference. It's in Chapter 1. I recall, quite clearly on my first read, leafing back to chapter 1 when the bandit made his reference and going Ah Ha!
Awhat t this point we know is that the rebels are counting on a Jhistal and that Mallick Rel is a Jhistal priest. Is this the same Jhistal--well, first timers still need to read and find out.
As we've mentioned before things are not always what they seem and attention needs to always be paid.
By the way, in general when Erikson makes up new adjectives or nouns, it is a good idea to remember them.
B T
70. amphibian
Public Service Announcement:

Weary = tired.

Wary = alert.
Brian Daniels
71. HoosierDaddy
@65, through Toll the Hounds and RotCG this was the top 10 on ME, with each person listing their top 5 books and some sort of scoring system I don't recall.

1. Memories of Ice - 221 pts
2. Deadhouse Gates - 133 pts
3. Midnight Tides - 123 pts
4. The Bonehunters - 101 pts
5. Toll the Hounds - 91 pts
6. Reaper's Gale - 81 pts
7. Gardens of the Moon - 58 pts
8. House of Chains - 55 pts
9. Return of the Crimson Guard - 11 pts
10. Night of Knives - 4 pts
Brian York
72. David DeLaney
I tried to post about this on the chapter 6&7 entry, but apparently my post has disappeared after having been 'saved'. The link in the Reread page to the chapter 6&7 entry is malformed; it's missing the "www.tor.com/" it needs at the front. If someone can please correct that? Thanks.

(Hopefully the planned automation of the reread pages next month will stop this from ever happening after that.)

--Dave
Robin Lemley
73. Robin55077
My order for the main series, favorite first, or course:

1. Bonehunters
2. House of Chains
3. Memories of Ice
4. Reapers Gale
5. Toll the Hounds
6. Dust of Dreams
7. Deadhouse Gates
8. Gardens of the Moon
9. Midnight Tides

Of course, as always, subject to change dpending on my mood and exactly what abstract thought or theory I may be tracking at the moment. I think it frequently depends on "why" is a particular book your favorite? It could simply be because of the writing over all, a particular set of characters that you favor, a particular arc that you enjoy, etc., so many choices! When I look at my list, in order, it is obvious to me that I rate according to my favorite characters/arc...the Bonehunters and Paran.
Thomas Jeffries
74. thomstel
osyris@68

Toll the Hounds has actually surpassed Memories of Ice as my second favorite (after DG), but that's just because I've read it most recently.

To be honest though, it took me quite a few chapters to "get" how the story was being told in TtH. Up to that point, urk. After that point, *nice*. On re-read, the whole thing gelled nicely, as I knew what to expect.

When we get there in twelve years ;) we'll have to conduct a lively debate as to whether we let the newbies make their own way (with kind but knowing smiles on our faces), or if we try and lend a hand by providing some perspective on the tale before they get started so that they're not too distracted by the difference in the storytelling.
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
In chapter 8 we have:

Iskaral Pust eased back into the chamber. “Why are you here?” he whispered. “Do you know why? You don't, but I'll tell you. You and no one else.” He leaned close, plucking at his spiral wisps of hair with both hands. “Tremorlor.”

Since going to Tremorlor was Quick Ben's part of plan, one might wonder where Pust is getting his info. If it is from Deck readings, it seems to be awfully specific. If ST is feeding him the info then, again, one wonders where ST got the info. He is a god and does have an interest in QB.
Steven Halter
77. stevenhalter
@Bill:

“That bastard Korbolo Dom.”

Yes, indeed, file this one away with rage.
Steven Halter
78. stevenhalter
In chapter 9 we have:

“Bonecaster,“ Kulp said. “What warren is this?”Hentos Ilm paused, attention still on Heboric. “Elder. Kurald Emurlahn.”
“I've heard of Kurald Galain--the Tiste Andii warren.”
“This is Tiste Edur. You surprise me, Mage. You are Meanas Rashan, which is the branch of Kurald Emurlahn accessible to mortal humans. The warren you use is the child of this place.”


There are a couple of interesting things in this exchange. We here about Kurald Emurlahn. I think this is the first we here about it as another Elder warren. Recall that in chapter 4 Icarium did not list this among the Elder warrens he knew about. Also note, that the bonecaster lists Meanas Rashan as the child warren that is accessible to humans. Another little interesting tidbit on the mystery as to what warrens are.
Steven Halter
79. stevenhalter
At the end of chapter 9:
Baudin to Felisin:

“You ever think that maybe what you are is what's trapping you inside whatever it is you're trapped inside?”

I think this little statement says quite a lot on the whole Felisin conversation. Her past is defining her present and so defining her future. A spinning trap composed of herself.
Thomas Jeffries
80. thomstel
Meanas Rashan.

Is this only place that we get to see two warrens associated like this, almost as a given name and surname? Everywhere else treats Meanas more as "illusion" and Rashan more as "shadow" from what I remember.

There's not too many instances of personification of the warrens throughout the series, but I missed the ones here until this re-read. Ilm's calling one a "child of" another, and Kulp's mention of his warren's awareness/anticipation a couple chapters ago...

And here I thought the warrens couldn't get more confusing, and that the Mockra revelation later was a one-time event.
David Thomson
81. ZetaStriker
thomstel@74

I'm really not sure I understand where any confusion could have come from in Toll of the Hounds. . . remaining as vague as possible, the matter of the "narration" is the only thing that could possibly come to mind. Is that what you were referring to?
Chris Hawks
82. SaltManZ
@80: "Meanas Rashan" threw me too. The glossary of DG actually gives Meanas and Rashan as the warrens of "shadow & illusion" and "darkness", respectively, which is how I always recalled them. Of course, as we'll see, the relationship between shadow and darkness can get pretty complex.
Steven Halter
83. stevenhalter
Yes, the bonecaster linking Meanas & Rashan together is also interesting--isn't it?
A lot of stuff in that brief exchange.
hazel hunter
84. Hetan
There's a reference to the Elder warren of shadow in GotM

"...the true Warren of Shadow has been closed, inaccessible for millennia, until the 1154th year of Burn's Sleep... The earliest writings of House Shadow seemed to indicate that its throne was occupied by a Tiste Edur—’- Quick Ben on the Warren of Shadow - (GotM, UK Trade, p.97)

Of course at that time we didn't know what it was called and although there are references to Elder warrens in GotM this is the first real reference to "child" warrens I think?
Steven Halter
85. stevenhalter
@Hetan:yeah, I can't recall the child warren reference before this.
Good rememberence of the QB quote.
Robin Lemley
86. Robin55077
I am amazed at the posters we have on here where English is their second or even third language. I think you all do a GREAT job posting in English.

I, for one, am not bothered in the slightest by the occasional "weary/wary" reversal. Who cares about typo's on a blog? Certainly not me!

:-)
Robin Lemley
87. Robin55077
We do get some more talk/info about the elder warrens vs. the younger/child warrens but IIRC it is not for a good while. I think it is in RG where it is discussed in more detail.
a a-p
88. lostinshadow
Bonehunters and Toll the Hounds would be my favorites - can't decide which one I like more.

For me the first 3 books are like a prologue to the series, the story doesn't even really pick up and start coming together until book 4.
Mieneke van der Salm
89. Mieneke
Daydreamer @9: I didn't remember what Jhistal was either. I even went through the glossary to look for it, but it wasn't mentioned!

Felisin is incredibly frustrating for me: every time I totally give up on her, she does or says something that turns my dislike into pity. At the same time I don't dislike Baudin at all, especially as I kind of figured out why he's there after Heboric's "Well done"-comment this chapter (even before reading the comments here, I was sort of proud of that *grins*), but I was disappointed he went through with the sex, instead of just telling her to give over the knife.

Fiddler's question at the end of chapter 8 'Who clutches the strings?' made me think of Hairlock and also wonder whether it was strings or chains that are being clutched. In any case, that comment stood out to me.

BTW, do we get an explanation at some point of why Legana took the head with him?

Shalter @79: Thanks for that analyses of Baudin's comment. That one had me completely spinning in circles. Baudin maybe thinks Felisin should be following what he says, but I was with her, I didn't follow at all! So your comment helped to give some direction :)
zaid
90. osyris
@Mieneke: The implications? of Legana taking the head are played out in a future book... but I do not think it is ever/yet explained why he did (besides the obvious reasons), unless I am mistaken.
Julian Augustus
91. Alisonwonderland
As always with Erikson, the introduction in this book of the Elder warren of Shadow scratches only the surface of Kurald Emurlahn, by far the most "complicated" of the warrens in the Malaz world. I believe in HoC we learn that we've been introduced twice to the warren in DG without knowing it.

As for Elder and child warrens, we learn later that some of the Elder warrens have human-accessible versions (for example, KG-Rashan, KE-Maenas, KT-Thyr, Tellann-Telas, etc), though they are not called "child" warrens in the later books. The question is, was Quick Ben in his reference to the "true" warren of Shadow referring to KE or to the warren now occupied by Kellanved and Dancer?
Julian Augustus
92. Alisonwonderland
Lostinshadow @ 88:

For me the first 3 books are like a prologue to the series, the story doesn't even really pick up and start coming together until book 4.


I have't yet read tCG so I can't make a definitive conclusion, but to me it seems as if it is not just the first three, but the first seven books of the series that read like a prologue to the main story.
Maggie K
93. SneakyVerin
Gosh-the amassing of questions these books are piling on is almost exciting to me! I've got to read further in a hurry so I have more info! Yeah, I think I have become addicted...lol
Robin Lemley
94. Robin55077
@ 89. Mieneke
"BTW, do we get an explanation at some point of why Legana took the head with him?"

First of all...HELLO. It has been a while since I saw you on here. Hope all is well and you had a nice Holiday Season!


In answer to your question, I would add that if you look really hard at the information provided at this point, you do have the answer here. It is just that most people do not realize it until much later. (That was one of my "proud" moments, as I actually figured that one out, at this point, on my initial read.)

:-)
M D
95. Abalieno
I enjoy silly things like ranking, so here's my most current:

1- House of Chains
2- Memories of Ice
3- Deadhouse Gates
4- Gardens of the Moon

Yes, it's exactly like that, I liked every book more than the previous. With 140 pages into Midnight Tides I don't know if this trend will stick, but while I get from the book the usual satisfaction, it's not looking like it will top HoC for me. HoC had just an ideal concentration of characters, ideas and momentum.

Still, it's an odd choice since most readers seem to put HoC near the bottom.

But there are also the novellas:

1- The Lees of Laughter's End
2- Crack'd Pot Trail
3- The Healthy Dead
4- Blood Follows

The interesting thing is that I'd rate The Lees of Laughter's End even ABOVE House of Chains. I love that story. A masterpiece. 2/3 I put on a similar level, and Blood Follows had some brilliant moments but overall didn't have the same density and constance of GENIUS.
B T
96. amphibian
I'd put Memories of Ice towards the bottom, actually. House of Chains is a better book in terms of technical skill and featured less straightforwards writing.

It's a tough call for me as for which book is actually my "best", but Deadhouse Gates remains my sentimental favorite.
Mieneke van der Salm
97. Mieneke
Thanks Osyris and Robin!
@ Robin: I've been here since the holidays, but always way, way late. Kept running behind. I caught up this week though and am reading chapters 10 & 11 at the moment, so hopefully I'll stay caught up now :D DG is blowing my mind though. I've read it once before in 2004 and I think I must have forgotten everything, because nothing is familiar O_o I'm loving the (re)discovery of this book :)
Sydo Zandstra
98. Fiddler
@Abalieno:

Hold on there. MT is a tough nut, after having connected with the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters, but it's a really necessary read. The writing is excellent though. Tehol and Bugg of course, but I also love how SE describes Ublala Pung's people hating their gods so much that they throw their piss and shit at their statues every day.
Tricia Irish
99. Tektonica
Abalieno:

I'm finding MT a very tough slog. The writing is fine, but the Edur culture is a snooze to me. I'm finally making some connections to earlier book info. It started getting OK about pg. 450. Now at 734 I'm into it.

Hang in there, is the best I can offer. This will NOT be at the top of my Malazan "Like" list.
hazel hunter
100. Hetan
At one point MoI was my favourite book in the series and I agree that MT was a whole new ball game however it is also now one of my favourite books , especially on re-read. The other two books that are up there are DoD and TtH - an underestimated book in my opinion. DG has never been on top of the heap for me.

It says something for the creation of this series as a whole that the first five books in my opinion are basically back -story alongside some more current events and that it's only after MT that it really picks up the pace and becomes "current".
DG and HoC really make me want to see a book written in the time of the HFE, the empire of Dessimbelackis - I want to know what occurred.
Tricia Irish
101. Tektonica
Hetan@100:

I read The Bonehunters' before I read MT and I think it worked well, but yes....things really started picking up there.

And I concur...I'd LOVE to see a book about The First Empire and Dessimbelackis. So many teasing references, and it sounds like it was a pretty impressive regime.
Sydo Zandstra
102. Fiddler
For me, MoI will remain the book in this series that had me go emotional the most.

I know later books will bring up similar stuff. But in my HO it doesn't compare to Capustan and Coral...

But without spoiling, I think the new readers are in for a big ride on the Chain of Dogs in this book too.

Coltaine, Sormo, Nil and Nether, and Duiker are mindblowing...


EDIT: You are right, Robin. Lull and List should be included :-)
Robin Lemley
103. Robin55077
@ 102. Fiddler
"Coltaine, Sormo, Nil and Nether, and Duiker are mindblowing... "

I agree. I would also add that SE did such an exceptional job with some of the more minor characters, such as Lull and List. I developed such an emotional attachment to both of them and, at least for me, that is very unusual for more minor characters. By the end of the book, I was equally as involved with List as I was with Coltaine. Of course, I am a bit weird at times, so that could just be me. LOL

:-)
Steven Halter
104. stevenhalter
re series, books as prologues, etc:
If we look at where books fall time-wise in the Burn's Sleep calendar (main portion of the book, ignoring jumps to the pastand the dates are slightly variable), then Knight of Knives happens at 1154, Midnight Tides at 1161-63, Gardens of the Moon at 1163, Deadhouse Gates and Memories of Ice at 1164 (simultaneous), House of Chains at 1163-1164, Bonehunters at 1164-1165, Return of the Crimson Guard at 1165, Reaper's Gale at about lat 1165-early 1166, Dust of Dreams and The Crippled God after those.
The dates are a little variable, but the stories do gradually build and follow a logical order while they each tell their own story.
I'm not sure that I would really call one thing a prologue to another except that events happen in some before others and introduce characters and actions that need to happen first.
At this point, I don't think I have books that I like more than other books in the series as opposed to storylines that I like more than other storylines. And then there's parts of storylines, ...
So, a long intro to I'm not doing a book ranking ;-)
Tai Tastigon
105. Taitastigon
Gawds...in earlier years, it would have been a head-to-head race between DG and MoI...now at the eve of tCG, I have split this entire cycle into one very weird sequence: GotM as a pilot, DG and MoI as somewhat stand-alone preps and from HoC onwards, one gigantic, single book that will be topped off by CG. Once I get thru that last one, I will give a concrete opinion (or maybe I´ll reread the whole thing back to back to it justice and then opine...)
Tai Tastigon
106. Taitastigon
Tek @99

MT was a curious one for me. As for most people, a tough one to get into at first read, and for me, the one I held off the longest to reread. Did it after DoD, and it went down much, much better the second time around after knowing how the Edur fit into the overall picture. Of all the books, the most straightforward plot and writing, in hindsight. IMHO a tough read for one peculiar reason: Not necessarily the fact of a whole new cast, but that the *big players / antagonists* of this cast are extremely unsympathetic. The few people that you actually root for are either helpless, with little plot impact (for THIS volume), or kinda mysterious, with somewhat hazy objectives. The rest you can ditch in a barrel and sink to the bottom of the ocean...
Thomas Jeffries
107. thomstel
The rest you can ditch in a barrel and sink to the bottom of the ocean...



What makes you think sending someone to the bottom of the ocean gets rid of them? ;)
Tai Tastigon
109. Taitastigon
OK, laddles & gentlemints, late it is, but not too late to start...you know what... ;0)

"Not me, you bastards !"
Tai Tastigon
110. Taitastigon
"Go fight or something ! We got a plug to pull !"
Tai Tastigon
111. Taitastigon
"Tell me you planned this ! Tell me you´ve got it all under control, Mage !"
"Of course, you idiot ! Can´t you tell ?"
Steven Halter
112. stevenhalter
Clear out, you flyblown piles of gizzards! We got work to do!
Steven Halter
113. stevenhalter
The lantern's out. Has been for some time. We're in the dark, Trell.
Steven Halter
114. stevenhalter
Bullying the chickens when they objected to the straw hats I had spent hours weaving.
Tricia Irish
115. Tektonica
Are these quotes from the next chapters?
Tai Tastigon
116. Taitastigon
Yep...and...

"Servants ? And precisely how big do you think Shadow Keep is, you one-armed imbecile !"
Tricia Irish
117. Tektonica
"Forget the captain," Lull said. "He ain't bothered showing up for one of these yet."

"You're it for the Seventh's ranking officers?"
"Not quite. There's the man in charge of the Seventh's sappers. The one who never shows up for these meetings."

Bult shrugged. "Word was sent. He's a hard man to find."
Tricia Irish
119. Tektonica
How about keeping a running list of Malazan swear words:

Hood's breath
Beru fend
Togg's feet
Togg's teats
Tai Tastigon
120. Taitastigon
Tek @119

that´s actually a pretty good one. We will have to copy that list over from reread to reread, as it grows.
Steven Halter
121. stevenhalter
Hood's grin
Hood's stubby ankles
Fener's tusk
Fener's hoof
Fener's hairy balls
Tricia Irish
122. Tektonica
Duiker:

"Ah, Fist, it's the curse of history that those who should read them never do."
Amir Noam
123. Amir
Tektonica @122:
That quote is one of my favorites :-)

The historian stares down at the dark-brown liquid. 'What is it?'
'Don't know, sir. Something Wickan.'
Brian York
124. Toster
one of my all time favourites:

"Am I a cutter? A healer? Is Cotillion a kindly uncle? Are my Hounds farmyard skulkers and orphans' puppies? Have you gone entirely insane?"
hazel hunter
125. Hetan
‘Can anyone find reliable, competent help these days, I wonder . . .’
Tricia Irish
126. Tektonica
Man in battle, guarding Nordo: "We're Coltaine's. He's a cold-blooded lizard, but he's all ours."

Duiker: "Who needs temples and priests to chain and guide the expression of loss and dismay - when, all is sacred?"

"The Dead were gone through Hood's Gate. The living were left with the pain of their passage."

Adding to the swear word list: Hood's toes
Tricia Irish
127. Tektonica
"Coltaine's road --his warriors fly like ghosts across the river!"
Steven Halter
128. stevenhalter
I had a sudden vision of Emperor Iskaral Pust.”
Steven Halter
129. stevenhalter
The assassin and Quick Ben had someone in mind for that. If all goes as planned.
Bill Capossere
131. Billcap
Hey all,
Just a note to say that Amanda has been fighting the flu this week, but like the trooper she is has stayed up to midnight to finish her thoughts on Chapter 10 and some of Chapter 11. She's hoping to send it to Tor during work tomorrow(shhh, nobody tell her boss!). So it may be a bit delayed, and perhaps a bit disjointed.

Bill
Tricia Irish
132. Tektonica
Impressive. Way to go Amanda. Dedication. Thank you.....and

Feel Better!!!

Thanks for the heads up, Bill.
Thomas Jeffries
133. thomstel
All the best Amanda, I hope you get feeling better very soon! Too many flu strains flying around this year...
Jennifer Stubbs
134. Liafw
Hi all. Joining this party a bit late but I've been following along most of the time - at first behind with the reread and the posts, then completely hooked and ahead with the reread and behind with the posts ! Now I'm all caught up with the posts and about 70% of the way through with MoI.

Now that I'm all up to date, I'll comment if it seems to add to the conversation but just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed everyone's comments here - it adds so much to the story to have pieces that I might not have focused on enough highlighted by someone else or to have someone bring up something I might have missed entirely. I have caught a couple of spoilers but they did not affect my enjoyment of the story at all ! I love the interplay of Amanda and Bills comments and find myself reading through some of her stuff just waiting for his great asides *chuckles*.
M D
136. Abalieno
I read the first 20 pages of Chapter 8.

These would correspond to some of the parts I loved the most even on my first read. As usual I like more the introspection and banter than pure plot movement and action, and in this case even the writing was excellent and straight to the point. I'm reading more Glen Cook these days and so I appreciate a prose emptied of all frills and that is kept strictly essential and pragmatic. In Cook's case sometimes it's even too barren and seems to disregard the reader entirely (but it keeps certain other qualities), while Erikson achieves his own balance that I see as perfect in these pages.

The chapter opens with a quote from a book written by Heboric. Reading it now it doesn't add much, but at the time it was like a lodestone. When I read DG the first and foremost mystery was about Empire matters. A lot of happened in Gardens of the Moon was still filled with shadows (in more ways than one, heh), so even this small tease from Heboric raised again curiosity and questions. Heboric represented a certain need for clarity I had as a reader.

Duiker continues to ride west, toward what will be known as the Chain of Dogs. Once again we get deferred (dunno if it's the right word in english) descriptions about what happened. The work of an historian done in almost contemporaneity, passive observation, guesses, conclusions. It's quite meaningful the way it's described. I don't know if it's the first reference, but Amanda asked what is the "Chain of Dogs" and here we get something already:

This, the historian realized as he rode on, was more than the simple lashing-out of a wounded, tormented beast.

The fact that Coltaine is not lost and powerless is not just evident by the way the battle went, but also by how systematic is the approach to everything. Not even Duiker understands immediately what's up with the oasis with all the palm trees cut down. His first feeling is similar to those shared by the pursuers, he thinks he's chasing ghosts or demons, but in the end he figures out that the plan was long term, that Coltaine basically destroyed the oasis to strip from it everything that could be used, and then leave absolutely nothing behind so that the rebellion would be hampered in the pursuit. I've seen the Chain of Dogs criticized sometimes because of the repeated surprise of Duiker and consequent marvel and celebration of Coltaine, but here we see not just the manifestation of those feelings, but also their cause. We get to see first hand where the marvel comes from.

The passage ends with capemoths, that seem used frequently as a symbol of Hood. They follow along as Duiker is doing, following (I think) the Chain of Dogs. It gives me an idea of how nature isn't unperturbed by what is going on, but reacts and adapts. Shaping and being shaped. The environment is not a static and passive background in these books, and DG and HoC are those two where it's felt the most.

The following section is again about my favorite trio. A small passage I can't avoid reading in a sort of "meta" way, even if it's more obvious today, probably:

Heboric squatted, setting the sack down. "He's not published anything in years - what else would he have to do with all his time?"

Kind of prophetic about Erikson's impressive future writing pace ;)

I also notice how Erikson kept Heboric, Baudin and Felisin truly distinctive. The kind of hate Felisin spits at them is not "blind" and absolute, it is instead powered by a lot of pure misunderstanding:

Heboric's favorite jokes are the unintended ones. Mockery is just hate's patina, and every laugh is vicious.

That's Felisin thinking sincerely about Heboric. She doesn't just hates the world and everyone in it, she sees hate and contempt in Heboric. From this perspective her actions are almost justified because she sees around her people that don't deserve any respect. So her reaction isn't due by just a blind hatred toward everything, whether good or bad, deserved or not, but it is the result of a skewed perspective. Felisin's problem origins from her blind perspective, and her actions are consequences of false observation. She's mean because she lives in a ghost world where she sees everyone as a demon.

This is reflected even in how she sees, selfishly, Baudin. Unable to perceive the truth:

She watched him working the fire. He'd lost the economy of his movements, she realized; there was now a sloppiness there that betrayed the extremity of his exhaustion, a weakness that probably came with finally reaching the coast. They'd lost any control over their fates.

Baudin believed in Baudin and no one else. Now just like us he's depending on someone else. And maybe it was all for nothing.

In this case the false perspective is due to the fact that Felisin doesn't know Baudin and his mission, so she interprets him as someone selfish who's lost control over his own fate. But maybe it's all true in this interpretation, beside the fact that Baudin powerlessness may be instead related to powerlessness toward his mission. Again observation betrayed by point of view.

It's interesting how Felisin's proposal for sex comes right after this: "Her fear of him deepened." It echoes a bit with Beneth. I don't know how to interpret it but it may be related to a sense of power and control that she thinks of acquiring through sex. Maybe as a way to diminish it and see it come down to something predictable and repeated.

The way Kulp and the others enter the scene is just great, after all that the trio has passed in order to survive:

The mage, a small, red-faced man wearing a singed cape, was the first to speak - in Malazan. "Thanks the gods! We need your help."

In the other section Kulp compares Heboric's condition to the one out in the sea he just escaped: "I saw a child dragging a Hound as big as a Hood-damned mountain. In one hand."

Which one? It seems that the left one is about Fener, and the right one is part Otataral and part green. Green should be Jade. So the Jade finger. So related to the Crippled God. The alien (to this world) power. It fights against Otataral and challenges its power.

There's also a partial revelation about Baudin, and a good hint even for the reader: "You should have paid better attention to your history tutors, lass." That was related to the "talon". The title is enough to make Heboric understand, and the hint is about something that is part of history, of the Empire obviously.

The following paragraph explains well Felisin's naive approach and how her hate "simplifies" her vision: "Without the Malazan Empire, peace would once again come." She is reducing everything to her hate of her sister, an hate that again builds a completely wrong idea of the world out there (and as readers we know how the empire is a small fragment of the whole, staggeringly complex picture). Particularly interesting the mention of Tavore's "bodyguards", especially in relation to what's just above.

This gives her again a purpose, but it closes again in a vicious circle, that is well explained in the end:

She could not stop herself lashing out, and every face she made turn her way became a mirror. There has to be a way to reflect something other than hate and contempt.

Which is the accurate description of what I said above. When she "lashes out" at Heboric and Baudin she does it against projections of herself, or of her skewed perspective. Her actions consequence of a tainted vision.

And to write this, that probably no one will see, I lost the whole third match with Roger Federer! :(
M D
137. Abalieno
Btw, I'm noticing many question the plausibility of the first fight. Beside the fact that I bet there are plenty of similar cases in our own history, a number of reasons have been pointed out, but I think the main one wasn't:

Kamist Reloe still retained superior numbers, but the quality of the troops was beginning to tell.

Sure, it's a surprise attack, but the fatal flaw is that it's surprise from a "veteran force" against a very disorganized army made by recruits with no experience and also no idea of what was about to happen.

Under those conditions the slaughter is plausible and predictable. The actual problem is that Duiker understands that this big success couldn't become a strategy. It worked once and wouldn't work again because the number of factors that lead to the success couldn't be repeated.
Andrew Curran
138. jaguar1759
Bill/Amanda,

I've tried notifying tour but Chapters 10/11 return a 404 not found error when trying to click on the link and Chapters 5/6 get page cannot be displayed. I have cleared my cache and cookies in Firefox and tried from different computers (on different IP addresses). The rest of the links work fine in both location. I have tried to notify Tor via email but haven't received a response yet.

Just wanted it to be address so I can read the blog posts, Thanks!
Steven Halter
139. stevenhalter
Jaguar -- Click on the comments tab and you will see others posting into 10/11. Click on that and you will get in.
By the way, errors should be reported to the admins--they don't necessarily watch the individual forums.
Steven Halter
140. stevenhalter
Abalieno@136:I read it--good commentary. Probably not a good idea to write while playing tennis though. ;-)
Sydo Zandstra
141. Fiddler
Abalieno:

And to write this, that probably no one will see, I lost the whole third match with Roger Federer! :(

I'll second shalter here. I do keep a tab on previous installments. And I agree with your analysis.
M D
142. Abalieno
I haunt forgotten places.

Finished to read what was left, luckily I don't have much to add. Great chapters all around and for some reason I seem to like them even more when I reread them.

At the end of chapter 8 there's a return of Pust in great form. There's a certain complacency in the way he speaks and teases, plays with hidden truths. In a specific point I even perceived a meta-narrative usage:

He ducked his head, smiled into the shadows. 'Are they deceived? Subtle truths, vague hints, a chance choice of words in unmindful echo? They know not. Bask in their awe with all wide-eyed innocence, oh, this is exquisite!'

This may as well be Erikson's own voice through Pust (and I see now Amanda noticing the same), talking right to the reader is a so similar way. What happens in the book is reflected by the reaction of the reader ;)

Another interesting tidbit about Icarium:

'Aye, lord of the sand grains – though that poetic allusion's lost on most and awkward besides.'

Dunno how to fully interpret this. Sand grains as used in hourglasses, but the theme of the desert always comes back in this book and it's surely more nuanced.

Though the most awe is about what is going on the Silanda. For first time readers this may as well be replaced with some frustration since one doesn't find out what is going on here even when the book is closed. But it's also the satisfying complexity and inlay of plots, maybe one of the better realized since it seems to be so consistent with what will be revealed much later. The emphasis on the Barghast spear being too big is obvious, even more interesting when it's seen in the light of what is discovered in Memories of Ice about the Barghast origins.

One awesome thing is how this is handled in later book (later meaning after the third), in the first three we have continually new pieces of the puzzle added, like it happens in this section. It seems that wherever the characters go there's a brand new piece of story. But the real brilliance is how, later, we start to see common origins and solid links between all these spurious parts, coming down as something cohesive. It really starts to come together in a convincing way, and the more it is revealed the more it makes sense (and so there's no loss of awe).

Instead at this specific point we have this subplot that is not exactly wrapped up within the novel, and it can be very confusing or even feel like it doesn't fit in the rest of the book. Yet it's all done so one can truly admire how the novels interlock in a awesome way. On a second read it seems even really clear, but without solid ground everything that is revealed just can't settle, and Erikson plays a lot with this (following the puzzle metaphor it's like Erikson gives you plenty of pieces, but you don't know what to do with them till you start placing them and lock them together). It is said that the warren is the original Shadow warren, Kurald Emurlahn (of which Meanas is only a "child"), it has been flooded in some way, the water goes nowhere. There's enough to fire speculation, especially if one looks to the part in GotM where the Tiste Edur are mentioned (by Quick Ben).

I can't remember how they enter here, though. On a first read I was too confused even to guess. It seems that the mad wizard that caused the storm isn't the one opening the warren (on a first read I just assumed they entered a warren related to the mad guy), but that he just follows the group. So how they end up here? Who opened this portal in the first place? Is this part of the story I've yet to read?

I also liked how Felisin makes fun of the T'lan Imass, I can't remember if it's the first time it happens (that they are ridiculed for their "certainty") but it will happen often, in particular in the fourth book. And even if we still don't know much of T'lan behaviors at this point, they are consistent with what is learned later. Maybe I'm missing something but this book is filled with clever details that Erikson got right and consistent.

I wonder who are the renegades they chase? Maybe it's something I should know already... (are these Karsa's own? They can't be...)

And I wonder why the T'lan don't know the kind of power within Heboric. They called Kulp a servant of the Chained One, so they are at least aware of that kind of sorcery (even if they misread Kulp). Being all linked together it is likely that they are somewhat familiar with Crippled God powers, he's been around a long time. Heboric touched the Jade finger, so I'm wondering why T'lan weren't able to recognize at all that force. I write off the possibility of inconsistency since it's all laid out blatantly and not overridden in one of the other books, so what?

The missing Andii head I had completely forgotten. Now I wonder if I missed it in House of Chains as well. Sigh...

Also to note: the mention of Drift Avalii, which is like Lost, the famous TV series, taken whole and crammed into the Malazan mythology. Obviously Lost came out later ;)

Oh, I was forgetting, what about the map with fjords that Klup sees in the Silanda's cabin? Is this Lether? If it's true I'm quite amazed. I think Esslemont said that Lether is Erikson's own invention and that it didn't exist outside the books, so it was not part of the mythology they created. The continent doesn't appear till Midnight Tides, so it can be quite impressive that Erikson put a reference already here. But then the path on the map may be an actual inconsistency since it seems Lether was "repositioned" later:

A course had been plotted, striking east from the jagged shoreline, then southward across a vast ocean.

According to the newest map we have there's basically nothing SE from Lether, and the Malazan Empire should be NW from Lether. Even if it took the opposite route the closer thing would be Genabackis, and even that is NE from Lether.
Gerd K
143. Kah-thurak
What I wonder is, is where that "too big Barghast Spear" is actually supposed to have come from. I am not 100% sure, but I think in HoC it is actually a harpoon.

@Abalieno
I dont think you could have missed the missing head in HoC... the events on Silanda in DG take place after HoC and the head goes missing in DG.

And I guess almost everyone likes Eriksons books better on re-read ;-)
Iris Creemers
144. SamarDev
@ Abalieno: nice quote about Icarium. Not knowing much about Icarium in this stage of the book/series, it's easily missed. But actually the link with Icarium and time (hourglass) is quite clear, so no need to ponder about the desert in this case.
Steven Halter
145. stevenhalter
Abalieno:

Who opened this portal in the first place?

That's a good question. As they are leaving in the Ripath Kulp notes about his warren Meanas that "It wanted to join the game." Then, they exit the reef and plunge into the spinning vortext that is formed about the mad mage. Kulp's warren opens immediately (and not of his volition it seems), "locking in instant battle with a power demonic in its fury." Then the water spears come raining down and there is confusion. Next:

The spears vanished. Pitching as if on a single surging wave, the Ripath lurched forward, stern lifting. Overhead the sky raged, bruised and flushing with blooms of power.

It seemed like this was the transition paragraph where they are now in the warren--Kurald Emurlahn. Since Meanas is a child warren, the place they end up certainly seems related to Kulp. Kulp did nothing himself, however. My guess is that it is an effect of Meanas locking in battle against the mad mage. Was there a conscious directing hand in this (Shadowthrone or 'Meanas')? I don't know that it says, but the hint is certainly there.
Chris Hawks
146. SaltManZ
I think Esslemont said that Lether is Erikson's own invention and that it didn't exist outside the books, so it was not part of the mythology they created. The continent doesn't appear till Midnight Tides, so it can be quite impressive that Erikson put a reference already here.

Hrm. I don't think I'm spoiling much by saying that most of the final two books (or so it appears) takes place on the Letherii continent. And that SE said that he and ICE had gamed out TCG's final battle way back when. So maybe SE created Lether the empire for the books, but it would seem ICE would previously have been aware of Lether the continent.
M D
147. Abalieno
It seemed like this was the transition paragraph where they are now in the warren--Kurald Emurlahn. Since Meanas is a child warren, the place they end up certainly seems related to Kulp. Kulp did nothing himself, however. My guess is that it is an effect of Meanas locking in battle against the mad mage.

But it seems odd that it leads back to the Nascent. The shadow realm where Shadowthrone is doesn't seem the same of the Nascent, if they are fragments my guess was that they are two different ones and separated. So if Meanas is directly related to Shadowthrone (and it is), then it's a bit odd that they end up in the Nascent fragment.

Besides, I don't know (yet?) where the water in the Nascent comes from.

Could it be possible that there's an open portal right in the ocean that poured water into it? (but then the water would continue to flow and in the Nascent the water is still, so the portal is supposedly closed now).

Actually I don't remember exactly how Karsa ended up in the same place, but there were some similarities since he was also traveling eastward to Seven Cities.

And about the missing head, only a part of HoC happens before DG, but I think I'm confusing stuff since I now remember an "head" in HoC, but it was a T'lan head, not Andii.

@146

Nope, I seem to remember that the landmass of Lether was added later. It was probably the last Q&A here on Tor, I should check.

Probably Erikson just "moved" some events to take place in Lether even if the place didn't originally exist (or exist in this position).
M D
148. Abalieno
Found the quote from Erikson:

I'm always to blame when it comes to maps, since I drew most of them, and no doubt added things here and there in the process. While Letheras was indeed squeezed in at a later date, the actual gaming of certain events that took place on that continent preceded the addendum by a few years (IIRC). I don't quite recall when I mocked up the final world map, but that was when I did the revision, inserting that continent.
Steven Halter
149. stevenhalter
147:The Nascent is already flooded when Kulp & co get there. We'll find out how later. That is an interesting question of how they end up in the Nascent fragment rather than the Meanas fragment proper. Perhaps there is a mystic connection and since they were on an ocean, the warren travel translated it into the portion most directly similar to an ocean.
Brian York
150. Dr Hoo
A quick, late note as I try to catch up to the re-read...I'll go with the minority and aver that Midnight Tides is my favorite of the series thus far (and I liked it even better on my recent re-read) for 2 reasons - the anthropological underpinnings of the Edur were fascinating, and of course Tehol and Bugg are unmatchable. I didn't really care for the Feather Witch / Udinaas storylines, but I think that was mostly my distaste for the characters not the writing. On a second note, I am now re-reading tBH and reading the DG commentary here sure fits in nicely with that!
A Jeeves
151. Artur al Yorks
Bill;
The opening appears to be perhaps an excerpt from the sort of history that got Heboric in trouble, calling into question as it does Laseen’s “victory” that night in Malaz City. I’d say that last line also holds true for much of what we’ll witness in the series.

Hi; I think it was this passage that got me to thinking that the whole Laseen ursurping of the Empire was not the 'betrayal' it is made to seem.
I'm a first timer to the MBotF, I started GotM at Christmas (three introductory books as a present - and I'm hooked. Now half way through MT). These re-reads are great, thanks Amanda & Bill ...... but I just had to race ahead.
So back to the whole Laseen v Kellanved thing. I suspect it is part of a (dastardly) plot - or maybe not so wicked at all, regardless of the ruthlessness it has involved. Are they all in cahoots or not? I don't need to know, just that it does alter my perspective of events somewhat.

Thanks to all you posters. I have enormous respect.
Artur of the UK.
Jonathan Hall
152. JHeez15
This quote from chapter 8 horrifies me, "...maybe it was what I lived through on the march to the galleys, maybe it was the sea of faces, the storm of hate and mindless fury, of the freedom and hunger to deliver pain writ so plain in all those very normal faces."

Such a vivid description of a bloodthirsty mob. AS a girl of 15 or 16 or whatever Felisin is in the beginning of the book I can't imagine the horror of facing a mob of people bent on your suffering and seemingly unappeasable. I can't imagine it as a 27 year old man. Although I know there are many people around the world who deal with these types of horrors on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment